Some readers will have noticed, or possibly even followed, the disturbing case in Cyprus of a 19 year old British girl who was allegedly raped by up to twelve Israeli youths and yet (as things currently stand) has ended up with a conviction for making a false allegation.
I need provide background in only little detail here.
Suffice it to say that in July last year the girl went on holiday to Ayia Napa – which I understand is a magnet for drinking and partying of the kind we’d all have loved to indulge in as teenagers (and may or may not have done in practice), as apparently it has been for decades – on a break before beginning her university course.
There she met a young Israeli boy of about her age and – over the course of a few days – what might have turned into a bog-standard holiday romance developed.
They made an assignation to meet and most probably have sex. But that wasn’t all that happened. Somehow or another, after they had been intimate, in total up to ten or eleven more boys joined the two love-birds in their bedroom and some or all also had sex with her; furthermore some of them video’d the experience, presumably to celebrate and/or glorify in it.
Probably as yet nobody knows the full truth of what happened – I certainly don’t – and there is little point in speculating.
Yes, maybe the whole thing was a ‘set up’ by the youths involved, with one of them detailed to ‘scout’ for a Brit (or other foreigner) who might be fond of sex and/or ‘up for it’.
Or maybe the girl concerned was just a somewhat naïve youngster who was completely duped by the ‘agent’ and then brutally taken advantage of.
Or maybe the actual truth was neither of those, but a set of events somewhere along the spectrum of all the possibilities that any of us can think of.
I suspect that – like me – any Rusters who have a passing knowledge of the story and its developments may have their suspicions as to what really happened.
Yet to comment upon the ins and outs of the case is not the purpose of my post today.
Rather it is to register another angle upon the media coverage in the UK.
As you would expect, the coverage has had its inevitable prurient side to it – debauchery, excessive drinking, sex, group sex (and possible coercion) are all ‘sexy’ trigger-buttons for Fleet Street red-top newspaper reporting.
But then the follow-up reporting has divided to an extent along nationalistic lines.
The Israelis accused of the multiple rape all pleaded “not guilty”, despite the video evidence that they’d taken themselves of the episode – I presume their defence was/is that the girl was a willing participant in what took place.
However, subsequently – after their eventual acquittal and return to Israel – I understand that there has been a bit of a backlash back home against them because of their boorish and boastful attitudes. (Some might argue that nobody involved – accuser or accused – comes out well from the episode).
Meanwhile the British press has been rowing in behind the British girl and her family.
There has been mention of the rudeness and abruptness of the local Cypriot judge hearing the case towards her – and indeed also to the representations made to him on her behalf.
There have also been repeated allegations that the ‘confession’ that the girl produced and signed, stating that her allegation of rape was a fabrication on her part, was ‘unsound’ – either because it was signed under duress after many hours of questioning and pressure from the local police, and/or that it came into being via a member of the police dictating the content to her and she writing it down verbatim, word for word, and then signing it (apparently seeing this as the only way she was going to get released from custody).
So there we have it.
Either a fully-consented to incident of pre-arranged group sex – or alternatively a naive young Brit taken advantage of – purely for their sexual gratification – by an unpleasant bunch of oiks.
That summary of the set-up is now heavily overlayed by a traditional British sense of semi-outrage, fanned enthusiastically by our media, borne of the suspicion that – unlike the processes of any system of legal justice administered in the UK – in the final analysis (of course) you just cannot trust Johnny Foreigner to run a whelk stall properly, still less conduct a criminal trial in accordance with international standards of evidential proof, cross-examination or indeed any notions of ‘fair play, fair trial or any form of judicial integrity’.
At times like these it’s occasionally hard to gauge whether there really is some substance to the arrogant, condescending, British attitude towards how those beyond the English Channel conduct their affairs …
Or, alternatively, whether it amounts to little more than a comfortable default hearsay myth that allows those with xenophobic leanings to feel (and contend) that really, the only way that the world could or would ever work properly for the common good – or should that be ‘for the most good of the most people’? – is if the rest of the world would relax, lie back … and just let the Brits run it for them.