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My partner, a rapist?

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As a part of regular trips to Australia, Darryl and Mary have been visiting organisations doing similar work to The Reward Foundation. On this trip we have met with three such organisations.

The first organisation we met with was the Gold Coast Centre Against Sexual Violence Inc., based in south-east Queensland.  This is a sexual violence counselling and prevention service founded 26 years ago by Di Macleod, whose father as it happens, hailed from the Isle of Skye. In 2013-14 the Centre provided almost 6,000 information and counselling sessions to women in the locality.  They also offer a separate website called What Do You Expect providing help to anyone having difficulties as a result of sexting, social media or sexual violence.

Di Macleod said that the Centre had noticed a change in recent years in the type of abuse the women are describing. The Centre’s staff couldn’t make sense of it at first until they realised that the changes are underpinned by pornography. More and more women are reporting signature porn acts carried out without consent.  The sexual and physical injuries include choking, strangulation and anal-genital damage. On a regular basis the women referred to Accident and Emergency require surgery for their injuries.

The sexual practices parallel what is seen in porn. The main thing now is women being anally-raped as opposed to only vaginal rape.  It  includes ejaculation on the face. A common scenario starts out with a woman beginning to have sex with a man, only to find several other men coming into the room to join in and one will most definitely be filming it. There is also more use of drugs and spiked drinks in sexual interactions.

Macleod said it is difficult for a woman to see her partner as a rapist. The Centre dealt recently with a woman over 60 yrs of age whose husband had been drugging her so that he could get anal sex, which she had not consented to when conscious. This behaviour was only detected when she woke up to catch him anally raping her as a result of not having been given enough drugs to knock her out. For months she had been presenting to the doctor with bowel problems.  This example also points to the fact that healthcare professionals are often not asking the right questions.

The crime of non-lethal strangulation was enacted in Queensland in August 2016.  Already 300 men have been charged and about 30 found guilty.  One of the challenges is that the police have not had a lot of training in this area.  The law was copied from the model established 20 years ago by the Training Institute of Strangulation Prevention in San Diego, USA, in response to domestic violence. This policy, along with specialist courts, has seen a significant reduction in domestic violence homicides in San Diego.

What can Scotland learn from other jurisdictions about these crimes which are reaching significant levels in Scotland too?

 

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