The British papers are abuzz this morning with a sickening story of sexual assault, alcohol and insensitivity. Helen, a 25-year-old beauty therapist in London, saw the £11,000 awarded to her in the aftermath of her rape by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) reduced by 25% because she had been drinking the night of the attack, which occurred four years ago. According to the Telegraph, "The policy came about because of a clause in CICA guidelines that awards for all types of injury can be cut if alcohol consumption 'contributed to the circumstances that gave rise to the injury.'" When her payout was reduced, Helen received a letter from CICA that said, "The evidence we have is that your excessive consumption of alcohol was a contributing factor in the incident."
In response, Helen told the Telegraph, "It felt like I was being punished for having the audacity to step up and say: 'I don't think this should have happened to me'…Which 25 per cent did they think I was responsible for?" This initial turn of events is particularly upsetting because the UK has such an abysmal rape conviction rate in the first place. As we previously reported, fewer than 6% of rapes reported in England lead to convictions - and that's out of as few as 10% of rapes that are reported in the first place.