Rape porn Bill introduced to Parliament (England, Wales and NI)
On 5 February the government introduced a Bill to Parliament that will extend S63(7) CJIA 2008 to cover the possession of pornography that depicts rape. Unless the proposed legislation is dropped or amended it may have greater implications for the general public than the first four categories that were originally criminalised. This is because material that depicts rape can be difficult to define.
However, in 2010 the Scottish Parliament introduced its own possession offence legislation (S42 CJ&L(S)A 2010) which included a category that depicts rape. In the light of this, and recent demands from many feminist and religious groups, that material that depicts rape be made an offence to possess, the government has brought forward new legislation.
Many CAAN supporters will be appalled that there really does exist some material that features real rape being committed and this is occasionally shared by exceptionally nasty people. But the publication and sharing of such material is already a criminal offence. Many of us have no sympathy for those who possess extremely brutal and callous depictions of rape, even those where models have consented to appear as ‘victims’, but the current legislation is sloppy, it is poorly drafted and will impact upon relatively soft bondage and domination themed material.
The legislation will also include anything that involves penetration with any object. So, if you were to possess an image of a submissive man, gagged, in bondage, with a butt plug being inserted, how could you prove that this was not rape? It could well be the case that the lucky man involved is having the best day of his life, but his facial expression might be interpreted by police as pain and the gag as proof that there was no consent to the act.
Nearly a third of the UK population (British Sexual Fantasy Research Project: 2007), fantasise about types of forced sex, often involving bondage, gags and invariably a dark dungeon. There is a huge amount of porn that caters for this demand, but anything without a BBFC certificate will be very dangerous to view/possess.
CAAN is doing everything we can to secure a sensible amendment to the legislation to protect those into bondage, submission and/or domination. Working with the 4 other campaigns (Backlash, Campaign Against Censorship, Sex & Censorship and the Sexual Freedom Coalition) we have warned MPs and peers of the dangers of this legislation, explaining the potential for thousands of harmless people to have their lives destroyed. The government has pointed to the experience in Scotland and notes that it is believed there has only been one conviction for possession of material that depicts rape. However the government also predicted that S63(7) CJIA 2008 would only result in “a handful of convictions” but the reality was very different, with over 1,000 people charged with offences per annum. In the year 2012/13 1,348 people were charged under S63(7) for possession of the first four categories of extreme porn. By criminalising possession of “rape” material, a category which will include some sexually explicit bondage and entirely consensual material, a category that will include material in which millions of people have an interest, it is likely that prosecutions will soar.
Let there be no doubt that we are in engaged in war on two fronts. The state is determined to seize control over the internet and is equally determined to marginalise the lives of those who are into even the mildest forms of BDSM. Evidence is also mounting that police investigations and prosecutions are disproportionately being directed at the LGBT community. As a consequence we fear that the new legislation poses a serious threat to minority groups and have adopted the stance that if anything depicts a real rape, where there is no consent, that cannot be tolerated; but anything that is consensual should not be criminalised. Finding a watertight definition or dividing line between the various different categories of material that exist is impossible and so we oppose the creation of this new category.
Please write to your MP and explain why this is an exceptionally dangerous piece of legislation. Please also write to members of the House of Lords. This step is also important because we believe it is more likely that this part of the legislation will be scrutinised in the Lords than in the Commons.
Here is a link to the draft Bill (The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill): -
CAAN is a growing grass-roots network of individuals and organisations fighting for the freedom of adults to view, or engage in consensual activities in private. We want to reclaim our human rights to privacy and self expression and to be allowed a lifestyle, or sexuality of our own choosing. We want you to join in and do things, because that’s what a network is. We need to put our energies and skills together to turn the tide of puritanical laws which create harmless criminals and victimless crimes.
Campaigning against extreme and unjust laws
Under the present government, a growing number of laws have been passed that criminalise ordinary people for their sexual choices. The best known example of this is the extreme porn ban which since 26th January 2009 affects England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
But the Government has also been instrumental in:
- criminalising the possession of images depicting perfectly legal sexual activity;
- putting in place a “Committee of Public Safety” whose job it will be to vet nearly half the workforce – and remove them from their jobs if they possess any porn that is “sexual and violent in nature”
- proposing to make it a criminal offence for an adult to pay for sex.
More new laws are being created! Please see our campaigns page for more information.
CAAN needs YOU!
We’re creating many ways to join in so that everyone who wants to get involved can do so, either behind the scenes, or out and in public. All consenting adults are welcome in CAAN, we aim to include people of all orientations, social or cultural groupings and genders, and we can also provide our information in alternative formats on request.