On Wednesday 18th May 2011, Kenneth Clarke, the current UK Justice Secretary, remarking on sentencing for rape offenders in a radio show appearance on the BBC5 Live call-in show, voiced his opinion of the distinction between date rape and “serious” rape, which he defines as “forcible”, involving “violence and an unwilling woman”.
"A serious rape, with violence and an unwilling woman, the tariff is much longer than that. I don't think many judges give five years for a forcible rape frankly."
He has shown no remorse for his remarks, suggesting that the mass public outrage at his disgraceful comments is misinformed and self-indulgent.
"People are slightly spinning, loading what I said in order to get what I regard as false indignation.”
The Guardian also reported that he believes campaigners around discounts for early guilty pleas (for all offenses) target rape in particular because it adds "sexual excitement" to into the argument.
Rape is, by definition, always non-consensual – i.e. forced – whether that is by physical violence or coercion. And rape is always sexual violence.
We, the undersigned, therefore call on the Prime Minister David Cameron to immediately dismiss the Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, on the grounds that he cannot represent the views of the women and men of Britain who regard all forms of rape as of dire seriousness, and recognise that all rape is forcible, violent, and can never be described as ‘consensual’.
We, the signatories of the petition, feel that the views of the Justice Secretary are disgraceful and send a very clear message about his position on rape: that date rape is a less serious form of the offense, that campaigning regarding sentencing for rape is frivolous, and that it is possible to have cases of non-violent, consensual rape.
We, the signatories of the petition, strongly feel that Kenneth Clarke must be held accountable for his comments, and that his views on rape are misguided, misinformed and dangerous.
Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, commented: "You cannot have a justice secretary who takes this kind of attitude to rape, this kind of attitude to rape victims and this kind of attitude to women across the country."
The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, said: "The prime minister, when he leaves this chamber, should go and look at the comments of the justice secretary and then he should say to him very clearly the justice secretary should not be in his post at the end of today."
The Dismiss UK Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke petition to Prime Minister David Cameron was written by Sophie Barnes and is in the category Gender Rights and Issues at GoPetition.