Letter: Rape and race

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Trevor Phillips rightly questions the quality of research of Channel Four's recent Dispatches programme on teenage gang rape ("The grave danger of turning rape into a racial issue", 19 November).

A total of 14 cases, involving 79 boys over two years, drawn from anecdotal evidence and personal recollection, is hardly a strong foundation for making the dubious and offensive claim that gang rape among young people is almost exclusively a black problem.

Official prisons service figures paint a rather different picture. While 9 per cent of the white prison population is there for rape and other sexual offences, only 7 per cent of the black prison population is there for the same offences. Indeed, official figures show that there is no basis for the commonly held assumption that black people are more likely to commit crime than white people.

If we are to reduce rape, we need to combat distorted young male attitudes towards women, not start drawing conclusions of racial differences on dubious research.

HELEN EDWARDS

London SW9

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