If I were a rapist, I would be laughing all the way to my next victim in the context of today’s news that rape prosecutions are at their lowest level in a decade. And if I was raped today, it pains me to say that I wouldn’t dream of reporting that rape to the police. As a lifelong feminist campaigner against male violence, I feel more pessimistic about the prospect of ending rape – which is what any civilised society should aim for – than I did 40 years ago.
For decades, the proportion of reported rapes that end in a conviction has been dismally low. But things are getting worse: today’s statistics show that although the number of rapes reported to the police has doubled in the last year, the number of rape cases charged and prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has fallen dramatically. Out of 54,000 reports of rape in 2017-18 (thought to be a fraction of the rapes actually committed), only 1,925 ended in a conviction.