Letter: Too severe a sentence

Sir: The sentence passed on Angus Diggle is appallingly severe ('Solicitor gets three years for attempted rape after dance', 1 October). His career now lies in ruins and, at the age of 37, he is unlikely to find another. He will be shunned socially. His whole life is shattered.

He 'misread the signs', but the business of deciding whether to have sex with someone - or even to kiss them - is conducted through body language. Undressing in front of someone is often meant as a come-on - sometimes even more so when you keep your back turned and it seems coy. In addition, most women still expect men to make the 'first move'. We are so unopen about sex, it's not surprising people often make mistakes.

When I was a student it was not uncommon for a girl to crawl into bed with a man after a party if she fancied him. If he didn't want sex, he'd throw her out of bed. But if that were attempted rape, thousands of women should now be in jail.

'Rape' and 'attempted rape' have now become such extended terms that the brutal crime of genuine rape is in danger of becoming indistinguishable from every other type of unwanted sex. That does women as well as men a grave disservice.

Yours sincerely,


London, SW4

1 October