Bad journalism/Snub the Guardian

The Guardian printed this – http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/nov/29/letter-to-girl-accused-me-of-rape

I wrote this –

The same week that women of the UK are trying to highlight the way the UK criminalises false rape convictions (& the rest of the west don’t) and not long after it has been revealed that UK police forces habitually drop rape cases, and against a backdrop of domestic violence and assault against women that never seems to be taken seriously – and the Guardian prints a letter about a “false” rape accusation. Appallingly badly timed, tactless and frankly another good reason to read another newspaper. The Guardian disappoints again and again.

they wrote back with this –

Thank you for your email about the “letter to” article, which was passed on to this department. We fully understand the profound reaction that people will feel on reading this and I can say that a great deal of thought was put into the decision to publish. It was not made casually.

The editors involved recognised that a 13-year-old girl suffered, but they were also aware that both the people involved were children and that the consequences were dire for both of them. They felt that it was rare to hear an account from someone who has faced such an accusation and that it was an appropriate one to air.Their intention was not to take one side or the other but to give a voice to the person on one side of a situation that had profound effects for both. This was a difficult subject to air. You may not agree with the above, but I hope you will understand that the decision to publish was not made thoughtlessly

so I wrote back to them with this –

With respect I would always assume that the decision to print any letter was far from careless – my point was that this letter was ill timed bearing in mind that there is currently a great deal of controversy about false rape accusations and recent suicide following a civil prosecution for the same.
┬áThere should be no hint that rape and false rape accusations are of equivalent incidence in a responsible press. In this case I think you may have contributed to a climate where women a. Are loathe to report rape and b. Are frequently disbelieved when they do. So I would maintain that the decision to print was a bad one – no matter how ‘hard’ you thought about it.
Personally I think that anyone who is worried about the incidence of rape reporting and prosecution in the UK should stop buying the Guardian. Read it on-line and ensure that they understand that sometimes it is bad to think hard…and do the wrong thing anyway.
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