Published:03 February 2011
by JAMIE WELHAM
A LANDMARK study of lap dancing clubs in Camden which “proved” the link between rape and the adult entertainment industry has been challenged by new research.
Statistics used in a 2003 report by women’s charity The Lilith Project, often quoted by opponents to lap dancing clubs, were “flawed” and there is no “causal relationship” between such venues and an increase in sex attacks, according to the new study. Dr Brooke Magnanti, better known as the author and former call girl “Belle du Jour”, has published research that claims the original assertion that rape figures doubled in Camden following the introduction of strip clubs is based on a misunderstanding of Metropolitan Police data.
She found “no conclusive evidence for the widely held assumption that endemic exposure to adult images and entertainment makes rape more likely to occur”.
There are currently nine lap-dancing venues in Camden. Dr Magnanti found the original study did not take into account the number of people living in the borough, the wider context of the crime and focused on too short a period to be able to draw a trend.
According to her wider analysis of figures, in the past 10 years Camden has seen fewer recorded rapes than other London boroughs with just a handful or no lap dancing clubs such as Islington and Lambeth. And the incidence has decreased in line with the national average.
The Lilith Report on Lap Dancing and Striptease in the Borough of Camden claimed the borough, which had seven licensed venues at the time, recorded three times the national average number of rapes between 1999 and 2002.