Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Yesterday at the Old Bailey Archie Reed of West Kensington was cleared of raping a fellow student.

Trials have outcomes. Juries make decisions. Judges oversee that process. This is British justice.

Or is it?

Because it is not good justice if some of the comments made during and after that trial do a deep damage to victims of the past, present and really importantly, of the future. When those comments are made by the judge in the case then we need to scrutinise the whole thing very carefully.

The Judge in this case was Anthony Morris QC. He has attacked the CPS for not doing a good enough job. He accused them of "making a mess" of the evidence. He ORDERED the jury to clear Archie Reed of rape during the trial. Yesterday he was also cleared of assault by penetration..

These were the judges comments. Please take a deep breath before reading. Because even in our culture of victim blaming this actually might take your breath away...

Judge Anthony Morris QC told the prosecutor Dianne Chan...

 “These were people who were good friends of each other, close friends who spent the evening drinking quite a considerable quantity of alcohol together, at the end of which the allegation is the defendant in a drunken state took advantage of her.

“It is something which he bitterly regretted as soon as it happened and he was stopped in the course of it. Some might say to go through the process now is going to make matters worse rather than better.”

The Judge appears to be saying that she was to blame for an assault which took place because she drank with her rapist. She was also friends with her rapist. She had a drink with her rapist. The rapist subsequently regretted raping his victim and even stopped in the middle of raping her to show he realised his mistake in raping her.

What I read here,,.. and you know, feel free to correct my understanding of this, is still that he sexually assulted her. All the other facts are totally and completely irrelevant.

Perhaps a rapist ought to not drink in case he rapes someone. Perhaps he ought not to have female friends until he is quite certain he may not rape them at some point. Perhaps he ought to obtain consent from a victim before the point where he begins to rape her and she screams and tells him to stop.

But, y'know surely a jury were given sufficient reason to believe that he did not sexually assault her?

This is what it was alleged happened according to a report in The Times...

"Mr Reed, a fellow pupil of the woman at a £30,000-a-year public school, was accused of pulling off her pyjama bottoms and knickers while she slept, and only stopping the assault when she screamed for him to leave.

He told the court that he had “picked up the wrong vibe” after she kissed him and invited him to stay in her bed when he missed his last Tube home."

 Again, is Mr Reed not admitting with "picking up the wrong vibe" that he was... y'know... in the wrong?????

The woman was asleep. Whether she was drunk or not she could not have given consent. Screaming is most definitely not consent. At the point when he realised he had "picked up the wrong vibe"... did Mr Reed simply say "oops" because if so this tells us something very worrying about how young men feel entitled to judge for themselves whether a woman has consented to sex with them without ever asking them, obtaining a yes, or even having them conscious.

The judge has intervened largely to reprimand the CPS for poor evidence collection and presentation. Apparently texts after the attack were lost. Some of the evidence presented was difficult to read.

I am far more concerned about a judge who says the following than I am about CPS evidence collection...

“It is something which he bitterly regretted as soon as it happened and he was stopped in the course of it. Some might say to go through the process now is going to make matters worse rather than better.”

This version of "poor lad.. let's forgive him because he did stop after all..."

What did he stop doing? Raping a woman? He was "stopped in the course of it"..... yes he was. By the WOMAN HE WAS ATTEMPTING TO RAPE. And just who is it better to not go through "the process" for? Not for the victim! The process.... that would be the process of prosecuting a crime then? Is that not your fucking job or something?

I am absolutely stunned that a Judge has voiced opinions like this and it has just been accepted.

Is there some sort of class bias involved because he was posh? They were both posh? Do posh women not matter? Or do posh boys just deserve to get away with crime because well.... they have their whole lives ahead of them? Unlike the women they abuse.

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6 thoughts on “Yesterday at the Old Bailey Archie Reed of West Kensington was cleared of raping a fellow student.

  • Redskies says:

    Is there somewhere official where I, as a concerned member of the public, can make a complaint to whomever is in charge of the judiciary about this judge?

    Surely, he is supposed to know the law. Someone who is unconcious cannot give consent.

  • Hecuba says:

    The accused Archie Reed allegedly sexually attacked a sleeping woman but the judge is only concerned with excusing alleged male sexual predator Reed’s sexual violence against a sleeping woman.

    Will I be excused/exonerated if I physically assault a male and then decide after two blows – ‘okay I regret what I am doing so therefore everything is okay now.’ I don’t think so because men’s legal system would still charge me for subjecting a male to physical violence even though I ‘stopped after two blows!’

    But men constantly have their accountability excused when the issue is one of male sexual/physical violence against women. Male rapists commonly minimalise their accountability and claim ‘I didn’t mean to do it!’ Or ‘I was in thrall to my sexual emotions!’ The woman was asleep – but that doesn’t matter according to male judge Anthony Morris because women aren’t human so it is okay for males to sexually prey on them when they are asleep.

    Men are physically assaulted by other males they know but I do not recall fact the male victim and male perpetrator ‘are friends’ minimalises the violence perpetrated against the male victim!

    Oh and by the way Anthony Morris is now judge and jury because he decided alleged male sexual predator Archie Morris was innocent. Why bother with a jury when Anthony Morris is the jury as well as the judge!

  • […] a student called Archie Reed was cleared of raping a fellow student. These are the words of Judge Anthony Morris, who oversaw the trial and ordered the jury to […]

  • Helen Saxby says:

    I am always concerned when mitigating factors in rape trials include the fact that they were friends, and that she ‘invited her rapist into her bed’. These facts should make it worse for the rapist, not better. She invited a ‘friend’ to stay in her bed, not a rapist. She did him a favour because he was a friend. She then fell asleep. That’s not a come-on is it? She obviously didn’t expect her friend to take advantage of the situation. The judge is effectively saying that if you invite a man into your bed you have to expect an attempt at rape, which is a deeply depressing view of men, as well as an imposition on the freedom of women to behave in ways they see fit. Once again it seems to be the woman’s job to anticipate rape round every corner and act accordingly, rather than, say, do a male friend a favour when that is what you want to do.

  • Helen says:

    He sexually assaulted her while she was asleep and unable to give consent – that was obviously wrong. And the judge was wrong to pre-empt the views of the jury.

    As my connections to these events are from a different generation I need to ask some questions.

    Unless humans have changed considerably in the years since I was their age it is common for both men and women to have sexual desires of some kind and for relationships to stumble along with either one or both being too embarrassed to say what they are really thinking, feeling and hoping. Did he have a secret wish that she wanted more from their friendship, and therefore genuinely misinterpret the kiss and invitation to share her bed? If he had been sober would he have thought to actually ask her what her intentions were in offering for him to sleep in her bed? If he had been sober would he have been in a position to make a more sensible judgement on his situation? If they were both sober would they have found themselves in this position in the first place?

    In wanting to put the blame where blame lies – on the perpetrator – this article sounds as if all men are being labelled rapists. And no-one is saying alcohol, and a drinking culture that pervades all strata of society, has any responsibility in all of this.

    And yes, I know I will be lambasted for not taking the simplistic all women are victims and all men are rapist perpetrators line. Even though I am appalled at the presentation of women in the media as sex objects. Even though I am appalled at the fact that only drunk women make the press front pages, showing up how shameful her behaviour is perceived to be, while men don’t get the same treatment – let’s start putting men on the front page, bedraggled and having pissed their pants because they were too drunk to do otherwise. Just two of the of the injustices and indoctrinations in our soceity that you find if you only lightly scratch at the surface.

    So, keep up the good work – a man must not think that just because a woman is incapable of giving consent he doesn’t need to ask for it. But attack too the frequent link to alcohol that robs men and women of their senses (and their health).