Prominent writer and atheist Richard Dawkins has caused controversy after tweeting that 'date rape is bad, stranger rape at knifepoint is worse.'
By
SBS

30 Jul 2014 - 8:10 AM  UPDATED 30 Jul 2014 - 10:18 AM

Richard Dawkins is facing backlash after tweeting that "date rape is bad, stranger rape at knifepoint is worse," and drawing a distinction between "mild" and "violent" paedophilia.

Dawkins, who is best known for his outspoken views on religion, finished the controversial tweets by declaring he was not endorsing date rape or "mild paedophilia".

The comments quickly generated a storm on Twitter, with many users criticising Dawkins' point of view.

But some came out in defence of The God Delusion author, arguing he was making a valid point.

In light of the controversy, Dawkins came out defiant, emphasising in later tweets that he was not endorsing any criminal acts.

He later issued a statement titled 'Response to a bizarre Twitter storm,' in which he addressed the "tsunami of hate" he had received following the comments"

"I wasn’t even saying it is RIGHT to rank one kind of rape as worse than another (that caused an immense amount of agony and a scarcely creditable level of vitriolic abuse in the Twittosphere)," he said.

"You may be one of those who thinks all forms of rape are EQUALLY bad, and should  not, in principle be ranked at all, ever.

"In that case my logical point won’t be relevant to you and you don’t need to take offence (although you might have trouble being a judge who is expected to give heavier sentences for worse versions of the same crime).

"All I was saying is that IF you are one of those who is prepared to say that one kind of rape is worse than another (whichever particular kinds those might be), this doesn’t imply that you approve of the less bad one. It is still bad. Just not AS bad."