Editor-at-Large: Street-Porter was no nun, but she deserved better
April 12, 2009
The circumstances surrounding the alleged rape of Janet Street-Porter are only gradually becoming clearer. What has emerged, however, is that Ms Street-Porter was a troubled woman with quite a few problems. I am not trying to diminish her alleged rape, and the outrage felt by her family and friends, but before we put the alleged rapist in the dock, it might be worth considering what Ms Street-Porter was doing that night, what she was wearing, her sexual history (including a long string of failed marriages), and what state of mind she might have been in.
One feminist has said that the “steady drip” of information about her background is intended to undermine her claims. I disagree. Knowing that she had had multiple partners is critical to understanding her apparent promiscuity and her attitude towards her alleged rapist, which might on first viewing of the video footage, seem a bit slutty.
Ms Street-Porter was wearing a short skirt, smoking a cigarette, and she’d had a few drinks. She didn’t look anything like the women the sex industry had corralled into brothels around England that night. They were mostly younger, working class, and worlds apart from a middle-class woman whose face seemed younger than her years after a life of relative luxury. One perfunctory glance ought to have shown her alleged rapist that she was no spring chicken. Witnesses say Ms Street-Porter appeared to be drunk, she wasn’t coherent and couldn’t move very well. Over an hour later, footage shows a man grabbing at her legs with his hands, and she falls to the ground.
It had been a long and trying day for the alleged rapist. Ms Street-Porter wound him up when he didn’t get his way. But she wasn’t a teenage prostitute with an attitude. The fact she didn’t swiftly repel his attention when ordered to have sex should have been just a mild irritant, not something requiring actual sexual assault. Adult males have been educated to understand that rape is wrong, just as they have been educated to understand the same of murder. This woman was not the only fish in the sea. Her life story demonstrates that the only person she ever harmed was herself. I can understand how attractive she might have appeared, but I can’t understand why anyone would want to rape her, especially not in this day and age.
Ms Street-Porter deserved some love and affection, and she clearly didn’t get any that night.
‘Gang-raped girl was glad of the attention,’ says barrister
The Daily Mail
May 18, 2007
A teenage girl who claims she was gang-raped by three 13-year-old boys would have been “glad of the attention”, a woman barrister said.
The 16-year-old and a friend have told how the boys mugged them and then raped them repeatedly in a park while filming the ordeal on a mobile phone.
But Sheilagh Davies, defending the youngest of the three accused, said the girls had consented to sex “maybe to gain attention, maybe to gain affection”.
The barrister told the jury that “things are not the way they used to be” and that girls’ clothes put pressure on them to be sexually attractive “perhaps before their time”.
Miss Davies suggested one of the girls, who has given evidence via video link, had been overweight and had “slimmed down a lot” since the alleged attack in South-East London on November 23 last year.
The barrister said in her closing speech: “She was 12st 6lb – not quite the swan she may turn into.
“She may well have been glad of the attention.”