A ban on the ‘rough sex’ defence, used in the case of murdered University of Lincoln student Grace Millane, is set to become law after its approval this week by the House of Lords.
Ms Millane’s body was found west of Auckland in New Zealand in 2018. Jesse Kempson, now 28, murdered the advertising and marketing graduate from Essex while she was on a backpacking holiday. He claimed in court that she died accidentally from strangulation during consensual sex.
It was revealed that Kempson has since been convicted of multiple rape and abuse charges in 2020. One of his victims shared a similar story to Ms Millane, another British woman whom he had met via Tinder.
In the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, “it does not matter” whether harm is inflicted for the purpose of sexual gratification for any party involved if the act results in serious harm.
“We are so pleased that the government are stopping rough sex being used as a defence. It needs to be called what it really is — and that’s murder,” Ms Millane’s cousin Hannah O’Callaghan told the BBC. “You cannot consent to that.”
To date, the defence has been used in 60 trials — featuring male defendants in every instance — according to advocacy research group We Can’t Consent To This.
If a woman’s injuries are ruled to be sustained during sex “gone wrong,” the courts are 45% likelier to lessen charges for manslaughter and lighten sentences, according to WCCTT’s findings. Deaths may not be further investigated as a crime at all.
A call for stricter laws, intervention and efforts to “take back the streets” entered nationwide discussion after the death of Sarah Everard. Police officer Wayne Couzens, facing trial October 25, has been charged for her kidnap and murder.
Domestic abuse in Lincolnshire rose 10% under lockdown, official numbers show. Stalking and harassment countywide also saw an increase, 15%.
All other crimes were down.
The bill, which also targets revenge porn, stalking and coercive behaviour, will take effect within England and Wales later this year.
On campus, the Hockey Club remembers Ms Millane, their former captain, during ‘Grace’s Week,’ held December 1-8. They described her as “a bright light” with a contagious smile and an even bigger heart.
“You could guarantee she would be dancing the nights away with [Vodka Kicks] in hand in Quack, whipping her hair back and forth to “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner and singing her guts out to “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran,” as stated on the club’s JustGiving.com fundraising page.
During the white ribbon week, sports clubs and communities — on and off campus — walk, run, cycle or swim 24km in benefit to charities related to survivors of domestic abuse and ending male violence.
ULHC has raised £3,057 since initiation.
“As a club, we continue to fight for the global end of male violence against women and the global end of the rough sex defence,” vowed the club on their page. “Her memory is continued in everything that those who knew and loved her do.”
With this ruling, that fight — at least within the borders of England and Wales — is one step closer to actualization.