When the words on a chart about rape become more important than rape

Over the weekend Ampp3d published a chart about YouGov’s recent survey on attitudes to rape in the UK.

It was this chart.


I made it.

Several people have complained about the wording of the chart.

The wording was quite deliberate.

You’ve got rapists. And you’ve got people accused of rape. Some rapists never get accused of it. Some people who haven’t done it get accused of it.

I believe that rape occurs at the moment someone does the raping, not at the moment that the legal system determines they are a rapist.

Therefore, granting anonymity to “rape suspects” de facto grants anonymity to some people who are rapists.

The counter-argument is that the chart misrepresents the situation, because by omitting the word “suspect” from the tweeted graphic, I’m making the British public’s attitude look worse than it is.

But this is exactly how rape culture and rape apologism works.

Of course granting anonymity to rape suspects is beneficial for the innocent, because the individual reputation of someone can be totally destroyed by a false rape accusation.

But granting anonymity to all rape suspects also protects rapists. It removes the possibility that other people can come forward and give police information that either “this also happened to me too with person x but I didn’t report it at the time” or “person x didn’t rape me but they did do y to me which I didn’t report at the time.”

That’s the logical consequence of saying you support anonymity for all. Some rapists will benefit from that anonymity. As a society, we should face that fact.

Anyway, we’ve had lots of replies to @ampp3d on Twitter complaining that the chart is misleading.

We’ve not had a single reply expressing anger or dismay about another statistic in the article – that somebody reports a rape in the UK to the police every 40 minutes.

I wish the people who cared enough about the wording of the chart to write blog posts or send me emails about it decided to get angry about that, instead of the way I worded a chart.

And I note that to date every single person I’ve seen complain about the chart on Twitter has been a man.