January 8, 2015 in Category If You Ask Me,In the News,Scarlett View...

The Ched Evans Debate.

When  it comes to the debate over  whether convicted rapist Ched Evans should be allowed to sign for Oldam Athletic the nation seems to be torn. As far my opinion goes, there shouldn’t even be a debate about it – and I feel like I could write a collection of essays as to why I think that… but instead I’ve asked one of my favourite writers and one of my closest friends, Zoe, to share her views on the issue. ~Scarlett x

By Zoe Yvonne Delaney

I’m ashamed to admit it but it was only last year, at the age of 24, did I truly start to understand the rape culture we have in this country. Of course I’ve always known about victim blaming and I’ve always been vocal about how poorly the justice system handles rape but it took an incident with my now boyfriend, to make me see how far we need to come in this country with how we deal with rape – on every level.

Now I want to say we were on a date, but we weren’t – we had finished working at a pub together and gone to the Irish American on Lime St (if you’ve been, you’ll know why I don’t class this as a date as such). For some reason, just a few drinks got me rotten – like unable to walk rotten. Jack took me home, put me to bed and didn’t even consider trying anything on.

The next day, I thanked him for acting like a gentleman as, based on my experience; most lads would have had sex with me. He looked at me utterly disgusted and asked why I was thanking him for not raping me? It was only then did I realise that we, as women, are expected to learn how not to be raped, but also to thank men for not sexually assaulting us. It’s bullshit.

The debate on whether Ched Evans should return to football has brought all the rape apologists out of the closet. Here are some FAMQ’s (Frequently asked moronic questions) that I’ve had to deal with when discussing the case recently.

He’s served his time, he’s been rehabilitated – why can’t you let him move on?

Ah, the most common shout from the terminally thick. Firstly, he hasn’t finished his sentence technically and secondly, he is unrepentant and unashamed – he is far from rehabilitated. His victim has had to relocate several times, has changed her identity more than once, is hounded by his supporters and couldn’t even spend Christmas Day with her family – I’m more concerned with why she, the victim, isn’t allowed to move on.

He maintains his innocence – are you going to feel guilty if he gets his conviction overturned?

To be honest, you should be asking him whether he feels guilty about being an unapologetic rapist, whose actions continue to punish the victim but, whatever. No, I won’t. He has had a fair trial, been convicted, by a jury, of rape and had an appeal rejected. Before I go any further, have a look at THIS. See how hard it is to get a rape case to court, let alone a conviction. I’ll play Devil’s Advocate with you though – let’s say he isn’t a convicted rapist (which he is) and was cleared of raping her? Why wouldn’t I feel any guilt? Simply because if he wasn’t a rapist then he’d simply be a scumbag who took advantage of a 19 year old girl and cheated on his girlfriend in the process. The story without rape is seedy and disgusting enough so no, I’m not losing any sleep over the miniscule chance his name is cleared.

She went back to a footballer’s hotel room – what was she expecting? A game of tiddlywinks?

Yawn. You know what; I’ve been back to a footballer’s apartment and not had sex. I went there with no intention of sleeping with anyone and left without sleeping with anyone. Had I been raped that night, I would have been horrified to think people didn’t believe I hadn’t gone there to have sex.

Actually, I’ve been back to plenty of lads houses after nights out and not had sex with them. Sometimes you want to stay out a bit longer, keep the party going, and sometimes you just fancy a make out session. Hang on – am I justifying why I go back to houses with men sometimes? Jesus.

Why can’t he go back to work though? If he a regular bloke and worked at Tesco, he’d be back stacking shelves.

HAHA – Have you seen how much of a ball ache it is to get a job at a supermarket? Good luck getting a position with a criminal record. The people who say this always tend to be the kind of people who would lead the local village boycott of a Tesco should a rapist ever start working there. Why the different attitude towards a multi-millionaire footballer.

What’s he going to do if he can’t play football?

You know what, if I’m going to be honest – I really couldn’t care less about his career prospects. His future father in law has bank rolled his campaign and website so maybe he could get a job with him. (On that note, my dad isn’t a controlling cave man type dad who dictates who I date, thank God, but I suspect he’d have a few things to say about me standing by a convicted rapist who cheated on me).

It’s not his fault he might be considered a role model – it’s the parent’s duty to raise their child.

Agreed. But football matches are attended by men, women and young children. A five year old, for example, could start watching Oldham this season and becoming a huge fan of Ched if he proves himself as a striker. A five year old will probably know nothing of this case or even what rape is – when the time comes and he asks for the name ‘Evans’ to be printed on the back of his shirt, what do his parents say to him? “Sorry son, the multi-millionaire footballer that thousands cheer for every week is actually a bad man?”

Speaking of the website, have you read it? Interesting huh?

Ah the hideous ‘Justice for Ched’ website; packed full to the brim of victim blaming content. My personal highlights are where it’s revealed he stepped over her body when she fell over in the takeaway (why would you reveal this on a site meant to be arguing his innocence?) and of course, the revelation that he chucked some chips at the seagulls. Genuine quote – “hardly a predator on the prowl.” Because it’s a well-known fact that rapists are stingy towards seagulls with their chips.

It’s not really rape though, is it? It can only be rape if you’re dragged down an alley or held at knife point.

You are literally too dumb to argue with. Go away.

Do you not think her case stops other girls coming forward to report rape? Do you not think she’s hindered other rape victims?

No, I’d say the support for Ched Evans and the constant victim blaming has in fact done that. It shows how we seem to only accept a rape claim if the victim is 100% sober and has never had sex before.

A false accusation can ruin a man’s life you know?

In this case, a CONVICTION hasn’t even ruined a man’s life. The victim is the one in fact whose life is ruined.

Why don’t we teach men not to get themselves in situations in which they could be accused of rape? What’s that? That’s really wrong of me to say. Well guess what? We teach women not to get themselves in situations that could result in their rape so how the hell do you think we feel?

What about Mike Tyson? His career never suffered.

I’m not a fan of Mike Tyson either. I never understood how he got a role in The Hangover and his recent reaction when quizzed about his crime was outrageous.

No more questions? Good. Now shut up and stop being a rape apologist.

One last thing – can we put an end to the term ‘consensual sex’? There is ‘sex’ and then there is ‘rape’. The word ‘consensual’ should never have to prefix the word sex; dirty, romantic, mind blowing – all words I like to see prefix sex, but not consensual.

Follow Zoe on Twitter

8 comments… read them below or add one

Sally Merphitt January 8, 2015 at 12:47 pm

I find it interesting that you don’t mention Clayton McDonald in this article – far more relevant than any mention of Mike Tyson? Is McDonald OK having a career in football now? Is that one OK by you?

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Zoe Yvonne Delaney January 8, 2015 at 4:15 pm

Hi Sally,

The reason I decided to compare Ched Evans to Mike Tyson is because, despite what you think, it is a much more relevant comparison. Tyson, like Evans, is a convicted rapist who also served jail time. Since his release he has been able to continue his career in the public eye, something Ched is unable to do at the moment, which leads many people to use him as an example to why we should ‘let him move on and play again.’

Why would I mention Clayton McDonald? He has not been convicted of any crime – he is an innocent man. Do you think he was wrongly acquitted? I find it interesting that you brought his name up.

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Sally Merphitt January 9, 2015 at 9:44 am

Because Clayton McDonald was not only accused of the same crime, but in the exact same incident. And it’s particularly important when one considers your final point:

[“One last thing – can we put an end to the term ‘consensual sex’? There is ‘sex’ and then there is ‘rape’. “]

Despite it being determined that the woman was too drunk to consent to sex, McDonald had sex with her and Evans, according to the law, raped her. If you’re struggling to apply this to your, perfectly reasonable, statement above, you’re not alone.

Irrespective of this; McDonald was acquitted.

As you say, McDonald is an innocent man . Because the Justice System says so. And, if that’s enough for us, then we must divorce personal feelings from this, and deem the Justice System to be infallible. And that is the same Justice System has deemed that Ched Evans has repaid his debt to society.

*This* is your first point in your article above. However, much of your reaction to this centres on the fact that a) Evans hasn’t apologised to his victim – and b) the victim has had her life destroyed as a consequence of the case.

a) McDonald hasn’t apologised either. He has has spoken of his, and Evans’s innocence in the past. He has spoken to the press much more than Evans (as per your second point). Do you believe McDonald should apologise?

b) The treatment of the victim by Evans’s “supporters” has been horrendous. However, it is not the fault of Evans – and it should have no bearing on his future life. To blame him for this is simply a personal reaction to the case.

I’m not going to analyse each of your other points since most of this article struggles to divorce personal feelings for the case from the word of the law.

I should state that you make some excellent points, also, and I nodded my head furiously to

[ “Why don’t we teach men not to get themselves in situations in which they could be accused of rape? What’s that? That’s really wrong of me to say. Well guess what? We teach women not to get themselves in situations that could result in their rape so how the hell do you think we feel? ]

But I bring up Clayton McDonald because, if you’re going to have a personal reaction to this case – separate from legal rulings and the served prison sentence, then he’s worth discussing —- as the only difference between him and Ched Evans is *the legal ruling and the served prison sentence*.

Reply

Zoe January 9, 2015 at 10:21 am

I will reply in length once I finish work but it can answer a couple of points now:

The reason this piece is “personal” is due to the fact that one in five women experience sexual assault – I think you’d be hard pressed to find a woman who doesn’t have an emotional or personal reaction to this case – from either side of the arguement.

Ched Evans and his girlfriends family run a victim blaming website which had certainly contributed to her being identified and hounded. He must take responsibility for her harrasment.

Also, he has not finished his sentence – he is a sex offender on lisence

Will reply fully later

Reply

Zoe Yvonne Delaney January 9, 2015 at 6:10 pm

As I said, it’s a personal piece and I think you’ll struggle to find many women who don’t have, or know of someone with, an experience that evokes passion, anger and personal speech regarding this issue. I don’t think I could write about this case without it being personal. Sorry.
The reason I haven’t looked into the laws surrounding the case etc is for several reasons (although I have read plenty of evidence and the court report) – I’m not a lawyer and nor was I on the jury. If Ched Evans had been convicted of theft or something else, I doubt everyone online would be becoming solicitors and ‘examining’ evidence and questioning laws. Ched Evans has been convicted of rape and is a guilty man and I am trusting the verdict. The reaction to this isn’t about the court case – it’s about how society is reacting to a rapist being able to return to a high profile job without being rehabilitated while the victim is constantly changing identity and living life on the run.
Ched Evans and his family and friends absolutely MUST take at least some responsibility for his supporter’s actions. His website, funded by his future father in law, is providing them with reasons to victim blame and is very questionable in how they manipulate the truth – for example, they fail to disclouse that the text message sent was ‘got a bird’, instead choosing to dress it up as ‘words to the effect of ‘I’m with a girl’. It fails to mention that she never went back with Ched, he snuck into the room. That other players filmed the act. The CCTV used made her identifiable.
The reason I don’t mention Clayton McDonald is because I, at the time, didn’t know enough about his actions after his verdict. Also, his name isn’t being used as synonym for raping a woman. Young lads aren’t declaring him a ‘hero who does what he wants, when he wants’. Parents won’t have to explain to their young children what rape is when it is chanted about at football matches.

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snowbird January 9, 2015 at 8:37 pm

What an interesting article and debate….this certainly has people in two camps.xxx

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Katie Matthews January 12, 2015 at 2:27 pm

Such a thought-provoking article, it’s definitely something that splits opinions!

Katie <3

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Fredulous January 13, 2015 at 4:18 am

Excellent post. Very well-reasoned. I like your style, Zoe.

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