No means no

September 4, 2008

A British MP  has taken issue with Dame Helen Mirren for saying that women couldn’t expect to take a man to court for date rape if they’d voluntarily gone to his room, started having sex then asked him to stop.

The Queen star admitted she was the victim of date rape on several occasions in her youth because she didn’t have the courage to stand up to men who wanted to have sex with her.

Mirren added she never reported the incidents to police because the men had not been violent with her.

The actress also stated in the candid interview with British magazine GQ that it would be hard for women to press charges against someone they had planned on being sexually active with.

She told the publication: “I was (date-raped), yes. A couple of times. Not with excessive violence, or being hit, but rather being locked in a room and made to have sex against my will.”

“I don’t think she (a female rape victim) can have that man into court under those circumstances.”

And the star has been heavily criticised by rape victim supporters who say her comments only make it harder for victims to get the judicial system to take the crime seriously.

British Home Office official Tony McNulty brands Mirren’s comments “profoundly disappointing” and “very unhelpful”.

He adds: “No means no, means no, and that needs to be the message as clearly as we can in terms of rape.”

The idea that anyone – male or female – can’t have a change of mind and be safe from rape is an appalling one. Mirren contradicted the good she did by admitting she’d been a victim of date rape with her suggestion that it might not be a matter for the courts.

Ex-expat has more to say on the matter here.


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