In Depth

Instant Opinion: men ‘getting away with murder’ using ‘rough sex defence’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Friday 15 November

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The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Joan Smith in The Telegraph

on the shifting definition of consent

Men are now getting away with murder by using the ‘rough sex’ defence

“A few years ago, this would have been laughed out of court – ‘you’re claiming she asked you to choke her?’ But what’s euphemistically described as ‘rough sex’ has become a staple of online pornography, and strangulation has moved from being a male fantasy to an actual defence used in Britain's courtrooms. Tellingly, while a handful of men have died as a result of what’s known as auto-asphyxiation, all the victims in cases involving two people have been women.”

2. Ewa Jasiewicz in The Guardian

on workers of the world uniting

I was a union organiser. Len McCluskey’s migrant clampdown will only benefit bosses

“Limiting the presence and supply of human beings for capital in this country because you think it will help you organise in workplaces better is not a trade union approach – it’s a boss one. You never punch down. You never collude with the state to stop poor people seeking bread, and you never collude with a classification of people as lesser. You wouldn’t accept a two- or three-tier employment contract system in a workplace, which is rampant today, any more than you should collude with that in immigration status. These concepts of class, underclass, a black-market workers’ class, serve neoliberal states, which continue to pursue policies of atomisation, authoritarianism and poverty class-reproduction. Why would you follow this model?”

3. The editorial board in the Los Angeles Times

on the rinse-and-repeat response to massacres

Santa Clarita shooting: It’s the guns. It’s always the guns

“The tragedies compound, and the grief is visceral. But there is no shock, really, outside the small circle of people directly affected by the gunfire. Because we have seen this too many times before — and we are destined to repeat it for the foreseeable future because we, as a society, choose to let paralysis overwhelm public safety. It’s not a leap to say that no 16-year-old should have ready access to a firearm outside the immediate supervision of an adult.”

4. David M. Perry in CNN

on climate change and its threat to art

Venice is sinking and this time it may go under

“There's a hope that the threat to Venice, the potential loss of so much beauty, might finally stir our political leadership around the world to action. If that were true, while so much could be saved, it would still be a sad indictment that only the Western European art mattered, rather than the millions or billions of people (often poor, often non-white) whose lives are threatened by a climate crisis largely of the West's making.”

5. Joey Ayoub in Al Jazeera

on the remarkable speed of change in the Middle East

The Lebanese revolution must abolish the kafala system

“Today the Lebanese people are rebelling against their own abusers, the warlord-oligarch class that have dominated Lebanese politics for three decades since the end of the country's civil war. Sectarianism, the system which pits the Lebanese against one another based on their religious denominations, is being actively challenged in the streets. We are destroying sectarian barriers at an incredible speed. We are, quite literally, connecting north and south in a way that has left our parents' generation baffled. Whatever happens next, what has already been achieved in the past month will resonate for years to come, and shape a whole generation, Generation Z, in a way that has even taken many millennials by surprise.”

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