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Laura Perrins: ‘Consenting to sex is like having a cup of tea.’ Our barmy DPP is not joking


Tell me again, as it has been a while since I was at the criminal bar, but I do believe there are other offences out there other than that of rape?

I am not saying rape is not important but barely a day goes by when Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions, is not on the radio or TV advocating a crackdown on the offence of rape.

There is even a DPP-inspired Twitter campaign to get people talking about consent- a key element in the offence of rape. Here is Alison Saunders holding a lovely sign saying “#consent is …clearly defined by law.” Truly, you are not a person of importance until you get yourself in front of a camera hashtagging some crucial cause.

Thanks for that Ms Saunders, but it does not leave the average man on the street any clearer. So for the avoidance of doubt, Section 74 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 states “a person consents if he agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.”

Who needs a law degree when we have Twitter? Then there is this further detail from Ms Saunders in The Guardian, comparing having sex to having a cup of tea (I kid you not).

“In our campaign we have used a clever animation that compares sexual consent to having a cup of tea. You wouldn’t force or pressure someone into having a cup of tea, and you can tell when someone wants a cup of tea or not. If someone says they want a cup of tea one minute, they can change their mind the next and should not be pressured to drink the tea. If this sounds simple, then so is the issue to consent to sex.”

Got that? Sex, cup of tea – it is all the same thing, folks.

Saunders believes there is a ‘misconception about consent’ but I am not so sure. I am taking an educated guess here, but I believe that most men know what consent looks like. I mean how hard can it be to find out – she is right there in front of you!

Unfortunately, a tiny minority of men are willing to have sex with someone without their consent – and yes that is rape. Feminists call this the patriarchy. I call it reality.

The Crown Prosecution Service and feminists seem to be under the impression that men are confused about what consent is. But the vast majority of rape cases involve men who know they are having sex without the victim’s consent and then lie about it. These men are not confused; they are not under any misconceptions; they are just rapists and liars to boot.

Now I could be wrong on this and practitioners of criminal law are free to correct me but I believe the number of cases that involve a defendant honestly but mistakenly believing that the victim consented when in fact she did not is miniscule. The co-defendant in the Evans case is a good example of this and there will be others but this is not the majority of cases.

The reason why we are seeing more and more State intrusion into intimacy and sexual relations is because these sexual relations are so casual.

It was inevitable that with hyper-casual relationships the State would have to step in micromanage things. In California there is the so-called yes means yes law and one university has given out sex contracts believing this will prevent rape.

My view is that if this is how the liberals want to conduct their private lives it is no business of a small c conservative. Conservatives should be interested in two things – due process, and making sure when there are safe convictions for rape the perpetrator is properly punished. Remember when it was the conservatives who were tough on crime? Well, we still are.

The Millennials can sign their sex contracts prior to the act, post them on Facebook and get some of their pre-law friends to enter into negotiations as to the terms for all I care. If this paternalistic micromanagement reduces the numbers of rapes that occur then that is great news, but I doubt they will.

Small c conservatives should not let themselves be painted as rape apologists. Further, and crucially, as small c conservatives should not be partaking in these hyper-causal relations in the first place it will have limited impact on their lives.

But that leaves the CPS now as feminist campaigning body. Next week I look forward to seeing the CPS take on the definition of dishonesty – a crucial element in the law of theft and fraud. But I will not hold my breath.

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