An alarming statistic is cause for conversation as new figures reveal that there were 133 fewer rape convictions in the UK, with one case reportedly being dropped because the victim was wearing Spanx shapewear.
The fall in convictions from the previous year is leading officials to believe that there is a failure with the process by which these cases are being reported and handled.
Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, told The Independent regarding rape cases, "We have certainly seen some indication that cases which we thought should have gone through [to charge] didn't," she said.
Adding, "There is best practice out there. It's just that not everyone is doing it."
The case regarding the shapewear was particular disturbing, as the victim received a letter from a Crown Prosecution Services attorney regarding her case, but was told that the charges in her case were, in fact, being dropped.
"I have taken into account all the surrounding circumstances, including the exchange of text messages between you before and after the incident," said the lawyer in a letter to the victim.
"I have also considered your account of the incident, particularly bearing in mind the type of underwear that you had on at the time."The woman appealed the decision, insisting that her Spanx shapewear had no relevance to the attack in which her partner followed her into her home against her wishes, raped her and then left. The original decision to not prosecute did not change.
The Telegraph reports that the numbers released by Crown Prosecution Service show that there was a total of 1,747 fewer actual rape cases reported to the CPS with a conviction total of 2,300, as opposed to the total of 2,433 the year before.
Professor of Gender and Violence at Bristol University, Marianna Hester, believes that the number of rape convictions should be much higher than what they are.
"Most cases do not end up in court, and this is not because the rape did not happen but because the police may not be vigorous enough in pursuing evidence, or because victims may be deemed too fragile to cope in the court setting, or because they are seen as the 'wrong' kind of victim if they have been raped before," she said.
This mishandling of information, and even lack of belief is directly contributing to the decline of convictions, according to officials.
"We will not see convictions improve significantly until there is a change to the institutional mindset which blames the victim for being raped," said Mary Mason, director of Solace Women's Aid.
Former Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer even contends, "It is not due to rape offenses dropping, I am certain about that. But it is very hard to pinpoint a reason."
Adding, "It may be related to the decline in referrals from the police."
What do you think about the case being dropped involving the woman wearing Spanx?