Think how unlikely a woman who has been raped might think it is that she may be believed when she reads about a woman police officer raped twice inside the police station and ignored for months before she’s made to face a gruelling trial alongside her alleged rapist.
At one point, the alleged rapist appears to have confessed but the evidence that he did has been struck off proceedings apparently because the font size of the caution he was given was too fine, comparable to insurance terms and conditions you sign off without reading.
Everyone has rights, even rapists, and if there’s a right to be cautioned properly of the consequences of confessing to rape, then surely someone somewhere has the duty to caution them properly.
I can’t decide if the alleged rapist’s claim that he had had consensual sex with his accuser and she was only accusing him of rape because he fancied someone else is true or not. It must be hard enough for the judge to decide and she’s hearing their testimonies in person.
I can however see the facts. A police officer in a police station claims to have been raped and her colleagues bungle up the investigation putting together evidence which turns out to be inadmissible in a court of law.
If it wasn’t so serious and if the consequences of rape at work weren’t so severe for its victim, it would be worth making puns about piss ups in breweries. If a case cannot be made around a rape that is alleged to have happened inside a police station, how can the police be seriously expected to prosecute a husband for raping his wife in their bedroom? If they cannot throw light on the sordid sergeant’s couch how do they expect to throw light on a dark alley?
What amazes me is that when the court strikes down evidence in such a case there isn’t uproar as a result, not in opposition to the court’s decision or the defence’s request for it, but for the fact that no one is held responsible for bungling a prosecution like this.
Allow me to presume that she is saying the truth. Since I am not a judge I have the luxury to make such a presumption and frankly, given the circumstances of the case as it emerged from the evidence both woman and man have given, I don’t think my bias is baseless. But, I grant you, it is a bias.
On the back of that presumption, the disservice done to the victim by her colleagues as they bungled the prosecution of her assailant is enormous. If it can’t be certain she’s been raped then, it is certain she is being violated now.
But it’s greater than that. It’s a disservice to all women in the police force because it appears that their workplace is somewhere you can get raped and the rapist would walk with impunity. Girls and boys in blue are at enough risk to begin with. It’s logical that when they are dispatched to an armed bank heist they risk being shot at and their shooter stands a good chance of getting a pardon from the prosecutor for no earthly reason .
But this woman was not braving bullets on the line. She was doing desk work at the police station where, as she alleges, she was groped, her boundaries were consistently violated, she was psychologically manipulated, and eventually assaulted and raped. Twice.
The failure of her employer to prevent this and to address it properly when she raised the alarm is an act of discrimination against all women officers. It is also a warning to potential new women recruits. Don’t join the force. Even here, if you’re raped, fuck all is done about it.
Here’s a government minister speaking around the time of the (alleged) rapes decrying the need for “more women in disciplined forces”. Maybe they should have hired the victim in this case to give them a testimonial.
The silence in the public’s reaction demonstrates just how low the public’s expectations of the police force are. Not even if Konrad Mizzi signed off a €100 million promissory note to Steward inside Msida police station would they have been willing or able to prosecute him properly for his crimes.
We can’t make up our minds if the police won’t or just can’t police.