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An appeal to Michael Buerk from Rape Crisis

22 Oct 2014

In response to Michael Buerk's comments ahead of tonight's Moral Maze, broadcast during this morning's BBC Radio 4 Today programme (Weds 22nd October 2014), Rape Crisis England & Wales spokeswoman Katie Russell said:

"While Michael Buerk and the Moral Maze are both known for being provocative, it is difficult to stress just how inappropriate and potentially damaging this morning's live trail from the presenter for his programme was. 

To infer that being drunk is in any way 'morally' comparable to committing the serious and violent crime of rape is deeply offensive and will undoubtedly have caused considerable distress to the huge numbers of survivors of sexual violence who will inevitably have been listening.

Let us not forget that drinking is not a crime; rape most definitely is.

Let us not forget that sex with someone incapable of giving their consent because they are incapacitated by alcohol or drugs is rape.

And most importantly, let us not forget that there is a rape survivor at the heart of this story, who is currently living with the devastating and potentially lifelong impact not only of having been sexually violated but of the terrible abuse she has subsequently suffered in the public domain. 

It is partly because of the kind of shaming, victim-blaming attitudes voiced by Michael Buerk this morning that currently only 15% of all those who are raped choose to report to the police. 

We sincerely hope that Michael Buerk and the BBC will issue a full apology as a matter of urgency."