Tuesday, 1 May 2012
why would you defend a rapist?
Last week, footballer Ched Evans was convicted of raping a nineteen year old woman and sentenced to five years in Prison. Another player, Clayton Macdonald, was found not guilty, on the basis the woman had given consent earlier in the evening while she was still sober. The backlash following this conviction has been immense, with a support page being set up for Evans, demanding a retrial and protesting his innocence. The fact is, Ched Evans is a rapist. He has been tried, convicted, and sentenced – he is a convicted rapist. Given the shockingly low conviction rate for rape in this country, it is in fact a miracle that this conviction has been obtained, and we should not lose sight of that. But this has raised a lot of issues. On the Evans’ support page on facebook, on twitter, in the press comments have ranged from people saying that he couldn’t be guilty as he is a great footballer, to saying that the woman was drunk and therefore she is the one responsible. She has been named publically, even though she is legally entitled to anonymity, and even though she is in fact, the victim – determined not only by her statement and opinion but also by due legal process. And yet she has been vilified on facebook, on twitter and elsewhere, whereas her rapist has been all but declared an innocent victim because ... he is a good footballer?So I think we have to ask the questions, how is it that when a man rapes a woman, he is presumed innocent? How is it that if a woman gets drunk and is raped, she is the one considered responsible? And more to the point, how is it considered that unless you explicitly say no, consent is assumed to have been given? The woman in question was considered too drunk to have consented to Evans, hence the conviction. She was considered to have not been in a fit state to consent to having sex with him, and as such, he raped her, it is that simple.And yet, because she consented to have sex with Clayton Macdonald earlier in the evening, it wasn’t considered rape, even though, having been in no fit state to say yes, she presumably was in no fit state to say no either. It seems that people are incapable of looking beyond Ched Evans as a footballer, and seeing the bigger picture, a bigger picture which so many of us could be a part of. A picture of a society which holds the rape victim responsible for not being raped, rather than the rapist responsible for not raping his victim. Where do the women defending Ched Evans fit into that picture? If you go out and get drunk on a Saturday night and are then raped, do you consider that you are the guilty party? Even though you didn’t consent? How little do you think that a woman is worth that it is ok for a man to have sex with her even if she is not in a position to say no?And for the men defending Ched Evans on the basis the woman was drunk, why on earth would you think it acceptable to have sex with a woman so drunk that she was not in a position to say either yes or no? What does that say about you? And more to the point, what does that say about your opinion of women? Ched Evans is a rapist.