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Men need to ask women before sex?

Men in the UK will have to think twice before cosying up with a woman who is high on booze, for ultimately he will have to prove that she gave her explicit consent to have sex.

india Updated: Oct 16, 2006 16:00 IST

Men in the UK will have to think twice before cosying up with a woman who is high on booze, for ultimately he will have to prove that she gave her explicit consent to have sex.

The government is trying to tighten up rape laws in order to secure more convictions against men who commit the crime against women who are drunk.

Currently, thousands of rape cases fail to reach the courts because the victims have been drinking. At present, women are deemed to be capable of consenting to sex as long as they are not so drunk that they are unconscious. 
 
If the new proposal is approved, from next month, it will be up to the juries to decide whether the woman was sober enough to know what she was doing.

It raises the possibility that even if a woman agreed to sex while drunk, a jury could rule that she had been too inebriated to give meaningful consent.

Critics of the new proposals fear that they will create a legal minefield and may encourage some women to make allegations of rape when they regret having had sex while drunk.

Solicitor General Mike O'Brien believes the law needs to be changed to make it easier to jail rapists who deliberately get their victims drunk.

"In non-stranger rapes, the issue is usually one of consent. There are usually two people involved, one of whom will deny consent and the other who will insist that consent was given,” the Daily Mail quoted O'Brien as telling the Sunday Times in an interview.
 
"The issue becomes particularly difficult when there is alcohol involved. What we have to do is to find ways of ensuring that when a rape occurs, the rapist is convicted, but that we don't create miscarriages of justice," he added.

UK police recorded 14,449 allegations of rape last year, and only one in 19 men were convicted.

However, George McAuley, chairman of the UK Men's Movement, said men may have to resort to obtaining written 'contracts' or using their mobile phones to film their partners consenting to sex.

"Radical feminists within the Labour party have made consensual heterosexual sex a dangerous minefield. The changes in legislation will increase the number of innocent men convicted of rape. It means men will have to get a consent form signed, dated and countersigned in triplicate before they make love. This legislation is deliberately designed to put more men behind bars," he said.