Anger over MEP Roger Helmer’s comments on rape

British eurodeputy (non-attached member) Roger Helmer poses on the sideline of a plenary session of the European Parliament in the northeastern French city of Strasbourg, 06 September 2005.
British eurodeputy (non-attached member) Roger Helmer poses on the sideline of a plenary session of the European Parliament in the northeastern French city of Strasbourg, 06 September 2005.
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A VETERAN Tory MEP has caused outrage by suggesting some rape victims are partly responsible for what happens to them.

Roger Helmer, MEP for the East Midlands, waded into the row sparked by Justice Secretary Ken Clarke with a blog post on Sunday.

Roger Helmer

Roger Helmer

Mr Clarke faced a barrage of criticism after he suggested some forms of rape were more serious than others.

Mr Helmer described two scenarios, a “classic” stranger-rape case where “a masked individual emerges from the bushes”, and “date rape”, where “A woman voluntarily goes to her boyfriend’s apartment, voluntarily goes into the bedroom, voluntarily undresses and gets into bed, perhaps anticipating sex, or naïvely expecting merely a cuddle.

“But at the last minute she gets cold feet and says “Stop!”. The young man, in the heat of the moment, is unable to restrain himself and carries on.”

Mr Helmer admitted he would be “vilified” by his comments, but went on to add: “While in the first case, the blame is squarely on the perpetrator and does not attach to the victim, in the second case the victim surely shares a part of the responsibility, if only for establishing reasonable expectations in her boyfriend’s mind.”

The Conservative party sought to distance themselves from Mr Helmer’s comments.

Corby MP Louise Bagshawe wrote on Twitter: “I have just been read Roger Helmer’s comments on rape.

“If they are true as read out to me, they are appalling.

“He speaks for himself alone. A woman (or man) always has the right to change their mind.”

And a Tory spokesman said: “This is clearly not the view of the Conservative party or the UK delegation in the European parliament, and does not reflect the comments made by Ken Clarke.”

Readers flocked to the comments section of Mr Helmer’s blog to voice their opposition to his post.

User Jonathan Ward wrote: “I strongly disagree that the women in your example is responsible in any way from how you describe it, and strongly disagree with the idea that the man is unable to restrain himself.”

But Mr Helmer replied: “It is naive for a woman to undress and get into a man’s bed and not expect him to draw the obvious conclusion.”

Speaking to a sister paper of the Mercury, Mr Helmer said his comments had been “blown out of all proportion”.

He said: “All I was saying was that if somebody deliberately exposes themselves to a dangerous situation and something unfortunately happens, they’re certainly not to blame, but they have some responsibility for putting themselves in a dangerous situation.”