WOMEN across the country will have sighed in frustration at the disturbing case of Eleanor Williams.
The 22-year-old fantasist callously lied about being raped and trafficked for sex and was rightly jailed for eight-and-a-half years at Preston Crown Court this week.
While I was appalled by her actions, my overriding reaction was fear for genuine rape victims.
I am deeply concerned her lies will cause lasting damage.
In May 2020, Williams sparked national outrage — and a racially charged protest in her home town of Barrow-In-Furness — when she posted graphic injury photos of herself on Facebook, claiming they had been inflicted by Asian groomers.
But her web of lies quickly unravelled after shocking CCTV footage showed Williams buying a hammer she later used to injure herself.
Like many others who read the disturbing details of the trial, I believe her sentence should have been longer.
But what about those who are genuine victims of sexual violence?
Unfortunately, so many rape cases end without a prosecution.
In the year to December 2021 there were 67,125 rape offences recorded, yet the number of completed rape prosecutions plummeted from 5,190 in 2016-17 to just 1,557 in 2020-21.
The numbers of convictions almost halved.
Only five per cent of rape cases given an outcome by the police in the year ending December 2021 resulted in a charge.
Obviously, that needs to change. But the fear they will not be believed will surely make many women feel even more reluctant to seek justice.
Although the trial found Williams to be guilty, her motive is still not clear and she has shown no remorse.
But the main thing to bear in mind about this story is that most women do NOT lie about rape.
While the statistics on false allegations vary, they are consistently low, with Home Office research suggesting only four per cent of cases of sexual violence reported to the police are found or suspected to be false.
Ultimately, this is not a story about rape. It is a story about someone clearly very mentally unwell and who had experienced undisclosed childhood trauma, which may well be the cause of her attention-seeking lies.
Despite her background, it is right that Williams is punished for such destructive false claims — and her story should serve as a cautionary tale to those tempted to lie about any crime.
But the real — and bigger — problem our society faces is not women lying about being raped, but perpetrators going unpunished.
Williams is a tragic figure and it is right she has gone to prison, but let’s not allow this story to discredit genuine victims of sexual violence.
Instead, let’s remember that most women who are brave enough to report a rape are telling the truth.
Gwyneth's odd routine
WELLNESS guru Gwyneth Paltrow sent the internet into a frenzy this week when she discussed her daily diet.
The Goop founder told a podcast she usually has dinner around 6pm and will not eat again until noon the following day.
This means breakfast usually consists of “celery juice with lemon or lemon water”, with bone broth for lunch “a lot of the days”.
For dinner she eats “lots of vegetables”.
Just thinking about this routine makes my stomach rumble. Is anyone else hungry?
Every Ma is a marvel
HAPPY Mother’s Day to all the mums out there – and to their family members, who I very much hope are spending the day celebrating them and spoiling them rotten.
Yes, I know, mothers should be celebrated, thanked and appreciated every day.
It really is vital to it’s spoil your mum on Mother’s Day – to remind her you love her just as much as she loves you[/caption]
But the reality is that most of us are not.
And we are not just mothers. We are teachers, supporters, mentors, role models, taxi drivers, house- keepers, cooks, cleaners and cheerleaders.
It takes unconditional love to give all that and at times it can feel like a bit of a one-way street.
Especially during those teenage years. My experience has always been that sons are like dogs and daughters like cats.
Like dogs, boys need plenty of exercise, food and cuddles.
Like cats, daughters are aloof, independent and only want you when they want you.
But every so often they make sure to let me know how much they value and appreciate me – and that goes a very long way.
That’s why it’s vital to spoil your mum on Mother’s Day – to remind her you love her just as much as she loves you.
Old on to love
I’M sure it will have its critics, but I love that there’s going to be a Love Island for oldies.
I hope ITV’s The Romance Retreat will do a lot to combat ageism – and its presenter proves it’s in good hands.
Davina McCall was announced as the show’s host last week and admitted she pleaded with producers to let her front the show.
She said: “I made it happen. I willed there to be an amazing new dating programme for grown-ups, people who have lived a life, been through experiences . . . bad, moving, hard, tough lives.
“They’ve got luggage but they deserve love.”
How right she is. And how good for us all to remember that love is not just for perfect-bodied, bikini-clad youngsters.
The future’s bright for brave Georgia
YOU have to admire Georgia Harrison, who has been incredibly brave in speaking out about the vile behaviour of her ex Stephen Bear.
Fellow reality star Bear profited from their sex life by sharing and selling secretly filmed footage online.
I am confident brave Georgia Harrison will see a turnaround in her fortunes[/caption]
What a terrible betrayal. I hope it is a comfort to her that the disgraced former TV personality is currently serving a 21-month prison sentence for voyeurism and two counts of disclosing private, sexual photographs and films.
But I can imagine it will take her a long time to get over it.
Speaking to The Sun this week, she said: “As much as this situation really did crush me two years ago, I can stand here strong now.
“There’s only good times to come from here.”
But she also admitted the stress left her with acne and a serious infection which landed her in hospital.
Poor Georgia claims that because of the ordeal she lost work and was dropped by “every brand who ever worked with me”.
But I am confident she will see a turnaround in her fortunes. She has been so strong. I wish her every success.
Late not great
I’VE heard a lot of excuses in my time but this one takes the biscuit.
Dyslexic security guard Raymond Bryce accused his boss of discrimin- ation for firing him for serial lateness.
He said his condition meant that he would be “late for his own funeral” and that his managers should give him a “leeway of 15 to 20 minutes” to his official start time.
Incredibly, the judge ruled in his favour.
I’m afraid I find this rather ludicrous.
I, of course, have sympathy for people who have dyslexia – which can cause difficulty writing and reading.
But would Raymond ask for the same “leeway” when catching a flight or going to the cinema?
And I wonder whether his employers are afforded the same “leeway” when it comes to his going home time?
Loss of a true legend
IT was with deep shock and sadness that the West Ham United family were informed on Friday morning of the tragic death of Jacqueline Gold.
She was the daughter of our late and much-loved joint-chairman David Gold, and a great friend of so many people at the club.
She died after seven years suffering from breast cancer.
The Ann Summers supremo was an incredible woman who I admired very much.
She was a trailblazer and a woman of integrity, charm and vision.
She was a woman’s woman, championing us in business throughout her 40-year career.
Made very much in her late father’s mould in terms of her talent, business acumen and also her huge heart and empathetic nature, Jacqueline was loved, respected and admired by all who met her.
It’s so unspeakably sad to lose someone so vibrant and young who did so much and was loved by everyone who knew her.
Her wonderful legacy will always live on.