In the News: Ched Evans and Rape Culture
As with many organisations that work in the field of violence against women and girls, we have some quite serious concerns about the way in which the Ched Evans rape case has appeared in public. We have serious reservations about the legality of the website created by Evans' family, the publication of CCTV footage of the victim, the promise of £50 000 to 'new' witnesses, and the inclusion of the victims sexual history in the trial.
The theory that the law is neutral is utterly farcical. Rape was originally considered a crime against property because the law was created and written by men to protect men's interests. It has only been in the face of decades of feminist activism that the law has expanded to recognise that women are human too. After all, rape in marriage only became illegal in 1991 in England and Wales. Despite the fact that consent is not a difficult concept, juries consistently find men not guilty of rape because they are worried that men simply 'can't understand' or that the consequences to the man's career are far more significant than the fact he chose to rape someone. Simply put, if you do not understand consent, you should not be having sex with anyone.
Laws around access and child maintenance claim to be predicated on the "rights of the child" but invariably privilege men with a documented history of domestic violence over the right of a child to live free from violence. Judges and juries are not unbiased - they make decisions based on their beliefs about rape culture and frequently hold victims to a higher standard than the men who choose to harm them.
Below are a number of very important publications from the past few days. As with Vera Ms Baird, the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, we believe the inclusion of the victims sexual history has taken us back 30 years. It is very much a rapists' charter.
Ched Evans judges have created a RAPISTS' CHARTER by Julie Bindel
.... A rape victim is judged for what clothes she wears, how much she drank, her behaviour with the defendant, and how quickly she reported the allegation to the police.
When she is in the witness box, her lifestyle, medical history, and intimate details of her sex life can be laid out for all the world to hear.
Such questions are not asked if you are mugged. ...
I can honestly say that things have got much worse for women who make the difficult and brave decision to report rape. I can honestly say the verdict in the Evans case will put countless victims off reporting, and result in scores of guilty men walking free. ...
"That bitch who ruined Ched Evans career deserves to die." "F*cking lying money whore bitch, she should be thrown in prison the c*nt". "She was gagging for it the whore." "The f*cking horrible little slut that ruined Ched Evans life needs strung up." "The girl that has ruined Ched Evans career deserve a boot in the teeth." "If I was Ched Evans i would find that whore and actually rape her this time!!"
This is a tiny selection of the tens of thousands of tweets that had been written about the woman who made an allegation of rape against footballer Ched Evans within an hour of him receiving a not-guilty verdict. Together, they form a masterclass in the reasons women do not come forward to report rape. ...
Here are some facts about the retrial which ended in Ched Evans being found not guilty of rape today: family and friends offered a £50,000 reward for information leading to his acquittal before the case went to court for a second time. Ched Evans’ defence team used the woman’s ex-boyfriends as witnesses, asking them to graphically describe details about their sex lives with the woman in question and her sexual preferences.
Evans’ fiancée Natasha Massey was accused by the prosecution of offering an “inducement” to a key witness “that had the flavour of a bribe”, but the trial judge disagreed with that description. One blog publicly identified the woman and publicised her name during the trial, even though British law grants her lifetime anonymity. In court, Evans admitted that he lied in order to get a key for the hotel room that the woman was in and that he left afterwards via the fire escape; he also said that he didn’t speak to the woman before, during or after having sex with her. Evans’ defence team said: “Drunken consent is nevertheless consent. While disinhibited through drink, she did consent to sex. Lack of memory does not equal lack of consent.” After a highly publicised campaign against the woman, footballer Evans walked free today. ...
Ched Evans rape case 'sets us back 30 years' says former solicitor general by Charlotte England
... Ms Baird, the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner who played a large role in changing the law in the nineties, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: “The only difference between a clear conviction of Mr Evans in 2012 and the absolute refusal of him having any leave to appeal at that time, and his acquittal now, is that he has called some men to throw discredit on [the woman's] sexual reputation.
"That, I think, is pouring prejudice in, which is exactly what used to happen before the law in 1999 stopped the admission of previous sexual history in order to show consent.
“We've gone back, I'm afraid, probably about 30 years.” ...
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