Editor: We have this all wrong and it continues to destroy lives

What will it take to improve rape conviction figures?What will it take to improve rape conviction figures?
What will it take to improve rape conviction figures?
The vast majority of rapists are never punished. What a terrible fact and what a sad indictment of our criminal justice system.

This is a most wicked crime. It destroys lives. It tears families apart or, perhaps worse, it is carried as a crippling weight and debilitating load alone by victims who daren't even be honest with those they love.

There is often an element of shame which victims carry for as long as they live, even though they did absolutely nothing wrong. These wicked attacks are completely and utterly always the fault of the criminal who carries them out. Perhaps, therein lies the root of the problem.

What other crime does society react to like rape?

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How would you cope if your daughter, wife or mother had been violated in the most vicious way and what would their thoughts be before breaking the news to you? What other evil is weighed up in terms of what the victim wears, what she may have done previously and what exact words she uttered as she suffered the most humiliating, life changing assault?

I can't help but wonder if things would be different if the vast majority of those raped were men and the vast majority of rapists were women.

Such is the fear around reporting this crime that most women simply don't. When they do, they are still incredibly unlikely to see justice done.

The problems and issues are clear. The system needs changing completely and radically until it favours the victim. But even that won't be enough.

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Our young men need educating better so less rapes happen and our young women need educating better about changing society and where the real blame lies.

Teaching women to protect themselves and keep themselves safe is great but also pathetic. It ignores the fact that in any other circumstance, we would be working to change the potential criminal not the victim.

If we want to have less rapists in Sheffield then let's start there, alongside a massive united effort to work with the women of this city on what the best approach would be should the worst happen. And let's hold those responsible for our criminal justice system - from that first 999 call to the last day in prison - openly responsible for this hugely damaging failure.

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