What does this mean in concrete terms? Conservative estimates suggest that, at most, one in four rapes are reported to police. If they are correct, about 3144 rapes were committed in SA in 2003. If the national and international estimates that suggest 15% or less of rapes are reported are correct, approximately 5240 rapes were committed in this state in 2003. Yet, only 786 were reported to the police. In 2003, only 100 reached court, though a smaller number went to a full trial. Of these, 12 resulted in a finding of guilty as charged.
Looking at these conviction figures makes me wonder whether the only realistic campaign which takes the criminal justice system as its focus would be a campaign to make rape illegal. Because there is little evidence that it is illegal except a few words tucked away in the Criminal Law Consolidation Act. In South Australia, rape is overwhelmingly subject to ‘resolution without trial’.
Indeed, twenty years after Catharine MacKinnon famously stated that rape ‘is not prohibited; it is regulated’, her words have become
more, rather than less, obviously applicable in this state.