There are days when I think journalists must live in a little community locked far far away from the people and issues they report on. I’m also pretty sure they must spend a lot of time reading their own notes and articles and nodding at their lovely jubbly cleverness rather than taking the nation’s pulse by reading the work of others.
Some, I imagine, must skip all the “booooorriiiiing!” researchy bit of their job altogether and go to the Far Far Away Land pub because some journalists appear spectacularly ill-informed on the very issues on which they are reporting or presenting. I think that radio journalists who host chat shows on local radio are in the Far Far Away Land pub after a substantial lock in.
Otherwise how on Earth could Nick Conrad of BBC Norfolk have judged the mood of the nation so very wrongly? How could he have talked such outrageous victim-blaming and offensive nonsense on the topic of rape without ever having looked at what happened when Judy Finnegan expressed similar views? How could he have so blithely side-stepped Alison Pearson’s appalling piece in the Telegraph and the backlash to it and thought – “ummm I will go down that particular rape apologist alley today. It looks nice and dark and perhaps there is a wine bar at the bottom?”
This was the alley he chose to blunder down on Monday.
You can hear him doing it here
“I will probably be slaughtered for saying this...if you look at the case sometimes rape cases can be questionable...and I’m not going as far as to say there is a degree of rape ... actually I maybe will go as far as to say that there is a degree of rape....the person who drags somebody into a bush in a park and rapes them, is that different to somebody who has erm has a woman in their bed and sexual proceedings have started, but then they take the matter too far and have intercourse with a woman against her will, then that’s a massive debate, it’s a huge grey area..
Nick comes out with the standard image of the “perfect” rape. Actually 90% of rapes, as reported by Rape Crisis, are committed by “known men”.
As Rape Crisis say, 90% of rapes are committed by “someone who the survivor has previously known, trusted, often even loved. People are raped in their homes, their workplaces and other settings where they have previously felt safe. Sometimes, the myth that rape is most commonly perpetrated by strangers can make the majority of survivors, who have been raped or sexually assaulted by someone they know, even less likely to report to the police”
I am astonished at the jump from “sexual proceedings” whatever they are to rape being just a “grey area”. It isn’t. It is rape. There is nothing grey about not gaining the right to put your penis in a woman and doing it anyway. RAPE. EVERY. TIME. NICK. By law.
Someone like Nick, knowing he was hosting a show on rape, do you not think he could have had a brief look at the Rape Crisis website even if he did no further research before heading to The Duck and Cover bar?
He continues, and I love how he knows he is stuffing his huge great victim-blaming boot in his mouth but does it anyway,
“In some cases there is... and again I’ve got to be careful... confusion is the wrong word but the crime isn’t quite as bad, even though it’s hideous, but it’s not as bad as some of these violent rape cases where you could absolutely say that there’s no way that person should be allowed back into society again”
Ok. Rape. Obviously we can’t say it enough times.... IS ALWAYS A VIOLENT ACT. What is it that people like Nick are not getting, if someone inserts a penis into your anus, mouth or vagina without you agreeing, that is as violent as an act gets. You don’t need to be beaten. The penis has trespassed against your body. That is violence. For someone to invade your body in the most personal way it is not the same as someone tip toeing into your house and stealing your telly. It really isn’t. It is the most violent crime. You own your body more absolutely than anything else in the world. No one has a right to invade it. That is extreme violence.
Nick doesn’t want to “discuss rehabilitation regarding Ched Evans because he maitains his innocence”
But he’s guilty. A court said so. It doesn’t matter what the rapist says currently.
Then Nick gets a little gem of an idea,
“I see a huge difference, a male female divide in this story..”
Oh reaaaalllly Nick. Why would that be? Because the overwhelming majority of rape is committed by men on women?
“There’s a lot of blokes who I’ve spoken to who are quite sympathetic towards Ched Evans because of the circumstances in which he was found guilty. He met a girl on a night out, she went back to his hotel room, she was so drunk she passed out on the bed, some sexual activity had happened beforehand, ...when she was unconscious then the some sexual activity was alleged to have occurred..he said that it was consensual, she said that she was too drunk to give consent so it’s a murky one – it is not as black and white as man drags woman into bush”
Now, here I have a real issue with Nick – she didn’t go back WITH Evans. She went back with another man who Nick conveniently wipes from the picture, because I’m going out on a limb here, but I really don’t think Nick has read the trial notes do you? No mention of how the woman was “got” by Macdonald.
More importantly Nick seems to be suggesting that being unconscious gives a man who is with a woman permission to have sex with her. It doesn’t. No matter what man you are. If you do this with your wife you are STILL a rapist even if you were having foreplay shortly before, even though Ched’s victim wasn’t. Yes really, rape apologists and Nick . Really!
Nick is also happy to use the term “alleged” about a convicted rapist. He does not really seem to acknowledging that a court evaluated evidence and gave a verdict. Does Nick know what a court is?
Then Nick asks,
“What is consent though?”
Now this should worry women. Here is a man on radio openly asking. Openly stating that he doesn’t understand. Ched Evans went to jail because he didn’t know Nick. You are a prime example of why young men need early education in consent. I am appalled that a man discussing rape on radio would ask such a thing having done zero research or consulted relevant women’s organisations.
“If they’ve started the sexual process with you and then they just lay on their back and they don’t do anything, they’re motionless, most decent men at that point would say well I’m gonna stop because this is kind of weird as I’m having sex with a motionless corpse...”
Yes Nick ,that would be rape but she doesn’t have to be unconscious. You don’t have to wait until she’s unconscious to stop raping her. You need her permission before you START raping her. That is consent.
But Nick says it’s different if the man is drunk too and is immediately put straight by his lovely caller who I absolutely adored. Unlike victim-blaming Carol who made me feel sick.
Nick blunders on,
“I think women need to be more aware of a man’s sexual desire, that when you are in that position that you are about to engage in sexual activity, there’s a huge amount of energy in the male body, there’s a huge amount of will and intent, and it’s very difficult for many men to say no when they’re whipped up into a bit of a storm and it’s the old adage about if you yank a dog’s tail then don’t be surprised when it bites you... one wonders if women need to be a little bit more mindful of that...”
I hope that I am not stunned all on my own here? A radio presenter is telling his audience that when he is sexually aroused it is a woman’s fault and she shouldn’t be surprised if he rapes her because men can’t help it? How do men feel? I’d love to know, is there a point where a normal man, not a rapist, just thinks, well she should have known I would become a rapist at some point!
The BBC! THE BBC! They allowed this man to express such dangerous and predatory views. He is literally saying that there will be a point where any man will rape a woman! It is her responsibility to stop that happening. If I was a man I would want to distance myself from this man. As a mother I would want him nowhere near my daughters.
Nick then attacks women like me, the ones who are actually campaigning in the field of violence against women and girls, not monsters or man-hating creatures, just women who would like all women and girls to be safe from harm, by saying,
“and the feminists who are...trying to hijack... maybe not hijack....but jump on these kind of arguments....and appear to be quite anti-men, neglect that very important erm part of the argument, even though it’s a reduced part of the argument and the onus has to be on the men, and the men must be condemned, if a woman says no and they insist then that is absolutely abhorrent, but then in their fury against men and masculinity they actually forget to stop and say, if you tease, if you jump into bed naked with a man, if you give him all the signals and then he acts upon them, then you are partially responsible and of course it is a grey area and there will be cases where you wanted to go a certain distance and not go any further then the man is absolutely wrong, but if you are ...how do I say this... I’ve gotta be so careful what I say because I don’t want this to be explosive, I’m just tryin to talk round it, but what I’m tryin to say is that women also have to understand that when a man is given certain signals he will wish to act upon them, and if you don’t wish to give out the wrong signals it’s best probably to keep your knickers on and not get into bed with him...”
Firstly, I haven’t hijacked anything and neither has any feminist. Feminists have been campaigning for decades on these issues. Women in the seventies fought to establish rape crisis centres and fought to make the streets safer with Reclaim The Night marches. How dare you dismiss over 40 years of work, probably much of it before you were born, by women who cared about their sisters, friends, daughters, mothers and wanted to stop them being raped?
I started this petition to raise awareness around the issue of consent. It wasn’t to punish a footballer or a football club. It was to highlight the fact that consent is crucial and to try to stop other women being raped by men who don’t understand consent. That isn’t jumping on a band wagon. It is responsible and caring social activism. Unlike leaping on a radio show, not equipped with relevant research or informed opinion and talking damaging rape myths and victim blaming nonsense. I’d go so far as to say talking about personal experience and anecdote, which makes your attitude towards women extremely worrying.
It is disgusting and disturbing that you would tell women, some of whom have survived sexual violence to “keep their knickers on”. I’m sure many raped women would have liked to do exactly that. By the way rape can be placing a penis in a mouth too. I don’t wear knickers on my head.
A woman in bed who is naked is still not fair game for raping. A woman in bed not naked isn’t. No woman is fair game for raping whether she has kissed you or got naked with you or any other “signal”. Is she doesn’t agree to sex with you then you are raping her however out of control your sexual desire is.
I genuinely can’t listen to the rest of the show. This presenter’s views on sexual violence and women are far too distressing. Any man defending him wants to take a long, hard, cold look at themselves and ask if they have any potential tendencies to feel the same lack of control around women and then those men should seek help. They should certainly avoid women.
Here is the link for reporting the show to OFCOM. It’s very simple if you feel similarly outraged.