Poor Ken Clarke, he's in a lot of hot water. Rather foolishly on Radio 5 live yesterday he told interviewer Victoria Derbyshire that some rapes are less serious than other rapes. When Derbyshire responded that surely rape is rape Clarke went on to give some examples of less serious rape, for example date rape. Thus digging himself into an even deeper hole.
Clarke's faux pas was to fail to recall that rape is a PC issue. There is an approved response, viz, all rapes are equally terrible and the most horrible thing that can happen to a woman except murder. You are NOT ALLOWED to suggest that rape is scalable, like say bank robbery, because those who police our thoughts prefer to have us think in black and white rather than apply our own critical faculties. There are other things you are NOT ALLOWED to say: blacks have lower IQs than whites; immigrants commit more crimes, Jews control the media - that sort of thing. Eventually, in an ideal Marxist universe, there will be one approved opinion on every subject and thinking anything else will be NOT ALLOWED.
Clarke blundered into this minefield all unknowing, and a few hours later at PMQs the Labour leader dully demanded his head on a platter. The prime minster was fairly muted in his support.
And yet Clarke is right. Rape isn't rape. It comes in shades of terribleness. Clarke gave date rape as an example of lesser rape; probably a bad example. Try this one: in September 2008 a muslim man called Sabbar Kashur met a Jewish woman in a bar in Jerusalem. He told her he was Jewish as well. They got on well and spend the night together. Later she found out he was actually muslim and cried rape. Kashur was convicted of rape by deception and sentenced to 18 months in prison. The court refered to Kashur as a "smooth-tongued criminal." (Sorry!)
At the other end of the spectrum, in April 1989 a 28-year-old lawyer called Trisha Meili was jogging though Central Park in NYC when she was chased by a pack of about 30 black youths. She was gang raped, received mutliple lacerations, suffered internal bleeding and her skull was cracked open and one eye came out of its socket. Her ordeal lasted for four hours and she was in a coma for several days. She wasn't expected to live. Five people were convicted, although clearly far more were involved. They have since launched successful appeals based on police procedural errors. Meili has made a recovery of sorts and now has a career as a motivational speaker.
Only an idiot would think those two rapes are the same.