Facing up to Responsibilities: Rape, culture and status

stop-rape-credit-RASASC-scaledOn the Ched Evans case Angela Haggerty argues it’s no longer good enough for the football industry to shirk its responsibilities.

In one of the projects I undertook during my journalism training my eyes were opened quite significantly to the task faced by rape charities in the basic education over what does and doesn’t constitute abuse.

I’m not an easy person to surprise, but this one really got me. I went into the project already pretty sure of what I would encounter – first mistake as a journalist, and lesson quickly learned – and what actually transpired left me with a lot to think about.

My story that day was based on being given an insight into the Tessa project; an initiative set up by Argyll & Bute Rape Crisis to go directly into schools and conduct workshops with pupils aimed at educating young people about what is and isn’t ok when it comes to sex. Project workers kindly allowed me to sit in on one of the workshops to see first-hand how they approached the issue, and to get an idea of how young people see things.

Video snippets of various scenarios were part of the course material. After each was shown, the pupils would discuss how they felt about it, and whether or not they thought the scenario constituted rape.

It was very well done. It covered the grey areas. It looked at the various situations in which the victim is not kicking and screaming; the ones in which it seems young people are confused about where the line really is.

What shocked me most was not the responses of the teenage boys in the group, but that of the teenage girls. Wearing short skirts and skimpy outfits and flirting was considered enough to indicate that the eventual victim of rape ‘should see it through’. I was genuinely taken aback. In my naivety I had assumed that the young women in the room would understand the complexities around abuse and it would be up to the project workers – and partly them – to educate the young men in the room.

Naïve indeed. What I found instead was that in situations that I considered clearly to be rape or abuse, the young people in that room, the ones likely embarking on their first relationships, weren’t quite so sure.

It forced me to examine my own views around sexual violence and look at it all in a much wider context. During my research, it finally clicked for me just how much of it happens every day to victims who do not understand that they are victims. I realised that even I had not fully understood abuse.

When I spoke to project workers afterwards, I was horrified by what they were dealing with. They told of scenarios young people had described which were blatant cases of grooming and sexual coercion, but in which the victim had absolutely no idea what was happening to them, and instead considered it just a part of life, just a part of the culture they were surrounded by. It became evident to me what the project was up against. It was frustrating to hear that with such an educational battle ahead, one of the biggest problems they had was in funding their work.

And all of this happened before the revelations about Jimmy Savile. It happened before the details began trickling out to the public domain of serious sexual abuse, rape and grooming at every level and walk of society in the UK.

It is not uncommon now to hear the term ‘sexual slavery’. To our horror, we’ve become aware of the children and young adults who have endured years of abuse at the hands of grooming and coercion, although many still struggle to really understand the dynamics at play in those situations.

The old ideas of rape being a one-off event in which the victim kicks and screams before running to the nearest police station should hopefully be long gone. That depiction of rape only ever benefited the perpetrators of abuse, the people who in reality spend time and effort grooming, confusing or threatening their victims.

We’re now all considering those grey areas, and there is a very big, long overdue conversation on the horizon. Before we can get to the heart of it, I suspect more information about abuse at the highest levels of the British establishment will first come to the fore. All the while in the background, charities and projects like Rape Crisis and Tessa continue in their quest to educate the upcoming generations about the reality of rape and abuse. The work they do is undervalued, under resourced and it is essential. My mind turns to all of this while debate in the UK continues in a frenzy about the former footballer and convicted rapist Ched Evans. He maintains he did not commit any crime, and if that is true it is up to an appeal court to overturn his conviction. However, as it stands, Evans has been convicted of rape, and his victim has been forced to move home several times in order to protect her identity.

The very notion that, given everything we are up against when it comes to getting the message out about rape, he can return to the position of an idolised footballer that children follow and look up to is preposterous.

The Evans case opens up an even wider question for the lucrative world of football. It’s an industry in which phenomenal amounts of money are traded each year; sport, and football in particular, has its own, huge space in media. It has its own TV channels, it gets its own section in the newspapers, football players sell merchandise in spades for clubs and they make yet more money on top of their sizable incomes from advertising and sponsorship deals.

Football is undeniably influential, and it’s not without its problems. When it comes to race, gender and sexuality, the football arena becomes a controversial place. Where other big-money industries have at least progressed, football has struggled with the pace. However, the traditionally ‘macho’ football stadium has extended its reach over the decades and is now a common weekend trip for women and children. Times have changed, and football must begin to catch up.

An industry which makes so much from its customers must take some responsibility and recognise its duty to those customers. That has to come from the top – the football authorities can make an impact on this issue by taking a strong position on the Evans case. If the football industry can make money from its legions of young fans, it should take a pro-active role and take this opportunity to spell out some common sense: a convicted rapist who believes he did nothing wrong can have no place in their industry. The thought of young people cheering Evans on or wearing shirts bearing his name should fill us all with nausea.

There should never have been any doubt about this, but when the footballing authorities have been largely silent on a debate which continues to rage all around them, questions must be asked about what the Football Association and its member clubs believe is acceptable behaviour for its stars on the pitch.

As blogger Jean Hatchet, who launched a petition calling for Oldham Athletic to ditch plans to offer Evans a contract, rightly told the BBC:

“It’s time that the Football Association [and] the Professional Footballers’ Association realised that accepting players back into a high-profile role that have committed such an atrocious crime is wrong. They’ve got to take a stand on this.”

It’s no longer good enough for the football industry to shirk out of its responsibilities. It’s no longer acceptable that we just don’t expect anything better from it. There are too many young and impressionable minds effectively paying these players’ wages for the bosses to fall silent when it is convenient.

This incident has shamed the industry for its lack of significant response. Damage has already been done, but it isn’t too late to make a move.

The message it is vital to get out to young people is twofold: one is that it is never, ever ok to engage in sexual conduct with a participant who is unwilling, uncomfortable, is coerced or who is not in a position to give consent; and two, the victims of these crimes need the validation to say with confidence that the things they’ve endured were wrong.

While he remains a convicted rapist, Ched Evans’ place on a football pitch is a considerable threat to that message. The only message that can possibly validate is the one I heard in that classroom years ago – sometimes girls just deserve it.


Comments (57)

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  1. While I don’t disagree with Angela in any way, my concern is that nothing has been made of the fact that a professional footballer, who killed two young boys, is playing football for an English League team. So while the crime Evans committed is horrible, surely the taking of two innocent childrens lives, is equally abhorrent?

    1. linda says:

      Alan, I agree with the equal abhorrence, but I think the player concerned did show great remorse and sought forgiveness. That’s a help in the rehabilitation process. The other aspect is the death of those children was through dangerous driving, albeit drunk driving, and as tragic as it is, was an accident. Rape is not an accident – ever.

      1. Anton says:

        Linda – I’m rather appalled by your suggestion that killing children as a result of drunk driving can be excused as an “accident”. No. Anyone who drives while drunk must take full responsibility for any consequences. Killing people while drunk is not an accident – ever.

  2. Miranda says:

    I thought once you had served your sentence you should not be punished further ? The man has done his time. That should be enough. Are we going to say that anyone found guilty of a crime should not be allowed to play football or sport ? Or only certain crimes ? And, if so, who decides ? The Courts have decided this man has paid his debt to society and set him free. To pursue him further is vindictive and offers those convicted no hope of rehabilitation. Have we really gone back to the Victorian days of locking them up and throwing away the key ? Now before you come back talking about rape, I am not. Nor am I condoning it. My point is simply this. A man has been convicted and served his sentence. That should be the end of it.

    1. The problem is that he doesn’t accept that he did anything wrong. Rehabilitation has clearly failed in this case. So long as he doesn’t realise that what he did was rape, he has to be regarded as a danger to other women – he clearly doesn’t ‘get’ the boundaries that Angela talks about in her article, and under those circumstances, society needs to assume that presented with similar circumstances, he would rape again. That’s what makes him a terrible role model.
      This might all be different were he to say, ‘Look, I acknowledge I did wrong. I’m sorry for raping her. I have learnt from my mistake, and I hope others will take time to understand the issues too. I want the footballing authorities to work with other players on awareness programmes because I could have benefited from that, and my victim would not have had to suffer in the way she has.’

      1. Frederick Robinson says:

        I have no idea whether Evans is/was guilty. It’s interesting, assuming ‘Miranda’ is female, that it’s a woman who defends him as having served his sentence if he was guilty. Again, I have no idea whether that is so, whether the sentence ‘fitted the crime’ as the G & S lyric has it, or whether the reduction of the period in prison was the right thing or not. But I instinctively pull back from the shrill tone of Angela Haggerty’s article. Similar attitudes were expressed a century or so ago over the ‘treachery’ of Alfred Dreyfus. He was publicly stripped of his military rank and imprisoned on Devil’s Island to a chorus of outrage. And would have died there but for the intervention of Emile Zola. I have no wish to emulate Zola: as I say, I have no idea in the case, one way or the other. That, I understand, is the purpose and function of the appeal. If that fails,,,,well, we must wait and see….

      2. Bothy Basher says:

        ” That’s what makes him a terrible role model.” A ridiculous view which implicates you in the problem of abuse.

        Not only that, you want to suspend the legal process as it suits your whim.

        You really need to think this through.

    2. Doug says:

      He hasn’t served his sentence. He has been released early from a four? year sentence for a serious sexual offence and is subject to supervision. The details of the “parole” supervision and restrictions on him as a sex offender don’t seem to be public, but the last thing you can say about an unrepentant rapist of a drunk teenage girl is that “he has served his time”, particularly with more than a year of that time to go.

      1. Amen to that! The defenders of Evans seem to forget that he is guilty of the crime of rape, and that he has not yet served his full sentence. If a court upholds his appeal, then we can speak of his innocence, and depending on the circumstances, perhaps some kind of miscarriage of justice will be shown to have taken place. But until then, so much of the ‘I don’t know if he’s guilty or not’ brigade appear to be making excuses for someone who is a convicted rapist who refuses to acknowledge that he committed rape.

    3. Bothy Basher says:

      Miranda is right.

      The footballer is appealing against his conviction.This strikes a chord with men who fear wrongful accusation – it is a recurring horror. I have no idea if he is guilty.He has the right to follow the legal process. He should not be sentenced to a lifetime’s unemployment whether he did this or not. I detest the smug, blinkered views that I read on this issue. Holy Wullie lives on.

      To dig deeper behind this individual case; I have long been sickened at the phrase ‘role model” which some say he is. That idiocy is all our fault for the illusion that fame or sporting prowess makes an admirable person. This ‘role model’ bilge is common in the US and is now increasingly corrupting Europe. To imagine that because you’re famous means you are of good character is laughable – and nobody objects to this and indeed it is promoted. Of course commerce is part of this, but the empty heads who go along with it contributed to the corruption of society . As do those who say the obscene wages for him, stockbrokers and bankers are ok.

      Bankers and politicians have damaged more lives than this footballer (if he did). Let’s jail them too ?- they are the enemy within. So are porn pushers, newsagents who sell porn and so on, depicting women as sex objects. We are all gulity for allowing this. . So are priests, bishops and cardinals, scoutmasters and so on.. Not much shouting about them- in a sane world the Catholic church would be dismantled. The sexual crimes of politicians and the wealthy are made light of or suppressed while this individual is discussed endlessly. That’s the price of focusing on the individual and not society and systems. It can be a smokescreen which masks the truth.

      There is so much smugness and hypocrocisy exposed by the footballer rape story. ,

      1. Bothy Basher says:

        Hypocrisy even.

      2. rosestrang says:

        You raise many points but for the sake of a shorter answer, can I recommend you learn more about the case?

        After seeing the petitions re Evans, I wanted to know more about this case before signing anything. I’m wary of hair trigger responses in such an emotive case. It was reading through Evans own web page (which attempts to convince the public of his innocence) which, ironically, convinced me he’s almost certainly guilty. Granted, I was not there at the trial and don’t know anything for certain, but the self described behaviour of Evans and his friend was sickening and undoubtedly callous and misogynistic. To me it points to his guilt (what man thinks it’s ok to start having sex with a drunk woman they’ve known for a few minutes, simply because their friend has already had sex with her, then leave her a short while later, while she’s clearly sick and semi conscious, via a hotel fire escape?). I was left wondering how they could not see their own behaviour for what it was. Remember that his fiancee awaited him at home during this obviously, for him, standard behaviour and you have the measure of Ched Evans. Remember that rape is not always about violent force, it’s about coercing someone into sex, abusing power and not getting full consent if the woman or man is too incapacitated to consent. That is rape law and I wish more people would acquaint themselves with it.

        He doesn’t recognise this and as far as I’m concerned he does not deserve the privileged position of a high profile footballer. He has money, his fiancee (or wife now?) has money, he’s already luckier than many with his connections and finances, it’s not as though he couldn’t for example set up a business or something. It’s the woman he raped who has all my sympathy.

    4. jacquescoleman says:

      There are very simple answers to Miranda. Firstly he has NOT served his time. He has been released early under conditions of probation et al and if he crosses any of those lines he will be hauled back to prison. Secondly he has been released early even though he has shown no remorse for his dirty deed.

      I have always assumed that showing genuine remorse for your crime was a necessary part of the early release process and if it isn’t it damn well ought to be. Bearing this in mind I conclude that Evans should not have been allowed an early release.

  3. ianpatterson2014 says:

    I don’t know anything about the English footballer described here (per Alex Beveridge); but as I have no interest whatsoever in the game (or in any other sport for that matter), that is not in the least bit surprising. However, I agree with Alex – it does seem quite astonishing the man has a place in a mainstream football team.

    Returning to Angela Haggerty’s piece, though, I agree with everything she said. I can see no moral justification for ‘the man she wrote about’ to have a position in a sporting team of any public hue during this phase of his assumed rehabilitation.

    I say ‘rehabilitation advisedly, of course, as he apparently says he is ‘not guilty’. But that remains to be seen; and at this stage of the process, he remains (in law) a convict who is out on licence. That should be enough to put any potential employer on their guard.

  4. ianpatterson2014 says:

    Further to an earlier comment, I understand this man has served only half of his sentence, and is out on parole for the unexpired portion of what is left of it. The remaining 2 1/2 years could be required to be served if there was a transgression of any sort during that period.

  5. Chloe says:

    Good article, nice to read an honest appraisal of how shocking ideas about sex can be.
    i believe in rehabilitating criminals back into society, but to do so they need to accept they committed a crime – Evans has not. Once they have admitted they were wrong they definitely should have the opportunity to be replaced in society with the opportunity to work, however as the author says, being a footballer is not just any work. it has community and role model duties. An unrepentant rapist does not deserve to be a role model

    1. Bothy Basher says:

      ”being a footballer is not just any work. it has community and role model duties. An unrepentant rapist does not deserve to be a role model”.

      Your ‘role model’ notions are part of the problem.

      1. chloemaclean says:

        Part of what problem? The problem that Ched Evans might not get signed? Surely the main problem here is that someone has been raped and the rapist does not think he done anything wrong, and vocally expresses this opinion.

        The issue of athletes being role models does have it’s problems – at times they are expected to be unrealistically ‘moral’ – but that is irrelevant because as it is, footballer are indeed public figures, and are indeed seen by many as role models. As such that entails responsibility. As the article suggests.

  6. rogersliz says:

    Agree 100%.

    To those saying ‘he served the time, why can’t he work’ – he can work, but not in a privileged high profile job. Whether we like it or not, footballers are influential, and men joking that they’d ‘chad evans’ a girl shows this.

    Should he be allowed to move on now that he has served (half of) the time – well, is his victim able to?

    1. Bothy Basher says:

      ”Whether we like it or not, footballers are influential,” – and views like this encourage the nonsense of ‘influence.

      1. rogersliz says:

        I don’t think facing facts encourages this nonsense. As I said, blokes are saying they’d ‘chad evans a girl’. This is worrying. I agree that footballers should not be influential but the fact is that anyone in the public eye can be. It is a real shame, but the culture we live in means that idiots on shows like ‘the only way is essex’ are idolised whereas talented opera singers are largely ignored (or mocked for being ‘fat’. Lol). Regardless, I think this is a separate issue. The key point here is that this man should not be in a high profile position. Same applies to MPs etc. It sends message of ‘do a crime, spend a couple of years in prison, come out and have a great life’. I find it horrific, especially as Evans has not even served a complete sentence.

        As I said, is his victim able to move on?

        You have commented a lot on this article regarding the issue with seeing footballers as influential figures but I have not seen you offer any solutions to this mindset other than accusing people of being part of the problem.

        I do, however, agree with you when you comment on ‘selective justice’. This is a problem, in part, due to our media only reporting certain things, and I think the issue of ‘selective justice’ perhaps also exists within football. Suarez bites someone and gets a ban, Pele headbutts someone and nothing happens…this all needs to be addressed.

  7. Fran says:

    Both sexual abuse and domestic abuse are so much part of our society that it is almost ordinary. It pains me that the girls mentioned in the article seem so resigned. It says a lot about women’s self esteem and how much work needs to be done to educate men, women, girls and boys as to what abuse actually is in all its forms. And also just how devastating and long term the effects of it are.

  8. To Frederick Robinson (I couldn’t reply to your post directly):
    Until he has successfully appealed, he is a convicted rapist.
    He was presumed innocent until the court found that the evidence showed he had committed rape.
    He tried to appeal, and the appeal was not granted. It is currently being referred to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Until the verdict is overturned, he’s a convicted rapist. There is nothing shrill about that (or Angela’s article).
    Suzanne Moore is well worth reading on this too: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/05/football-club-ched-evans-apologise-rehabilitation

  9. Sorry ianpatterson I possibly should have included the information that the footballer in question is one Luke McCormick, the Plymouth Argyle goalkeeper who believe it or not, was actually made club captain last year. In 2008 he was resonsible for the childrens deaths due to driving while drunk on the M6, and causing the accident which killed them. He was sentenced to seven years and nine months imprisonment, but of course, as is common nowadays, was released after serving half that term. My gripe is that as far as I am aware there was virtually no mention of this, at least in the national press, and no condemnation of the football club for resigning him. Compare this with the coverege of the Evans case, and yet this is instance where lives, young, innocent lives, were lost.

    1. Bothy Basher says:

      Absolutely, Alex – we are awash in the sewage of selective morality.

  10. Fran says:

    Its an interesting point and worth consideration. Though it has to be said that many young, innocent lives are devastated by sexual abuse, often resulting in long term mental health problems and sometimes suicide. Sexual abuse towards women is also unfortunately part of our culture.

    1. M4rkyboy says:

      Naw Fran,Sexual abuse and Domestic violence arent a part of our culture.Maybe iam living in a different Scotland…

  11. ianpatterson2014 says:

    Thank you Alex Beveridge – most illuminating.

  12. gonzalo1 says:

    Whilst agreeing that rape is a terrible crime causing the deaths of two children is far worse. Chad Evans served the sentence for the crime and, in common with other criminals who have done rehabilitation, he should be able to work in his chosen profession in Malta or Oldham (I know which one I’d prefer) or anywhere else. To deny him that is a breach of his human rights.

  13. Fran says:

    By culture I don’t mean Scottish culture in particular. Its a world wide issue.

    1. Ged says:

      Hmmm, really? I think calling it a culture is a step too far.
      I’ve came came home more than inebriated plenty of times and, as far as I’m aware, never raped or perpetuated any acts of domestic abuse.

      1. Bothy Basher says:

        As far as you’re aware.

  14. There are wider societal issues surrounding how gender violence is treated and much more progress needs to be made in that regard however, insofar as football is concerned, the game/business has no morals. Frankly it is as simple as that. The sport/business is the essence of an unfettered, unregulated capitalist market. When it exploits it’s customers (fans) in the manner of pricing and scheduling of fixtures around tv schedules there is very little chance that it will ‘man-up’ (the irony) and take any kind of leadership responsibility that doesn’t point towards a crock of gold.

  15. Jeff Saunderson says:

    I am very disappointed by some hypocritical comments of otherwise enlightened posters on this thread.

    The man has served his sentence
    The court has adjudicated that he should be free to resume employment in his field.
    A footballers contract does not require police disclosure and therefore previous criminal convictions should not automatically bar him from working in that field.

    EVERYTHING regarding this scenario is in accordance with legal practice that at any other time most commentators would otherwise support; trial by peers, serving a sentence and the opportunity for rehabilitation WITHOUT prejudice.
    The debate about severity of sentence is a straw man argument in this matter. It is not for society to take vigilante action after conviction and sentence are served.

    Those who feel otherwise are perpetrators of a mob mentality with little regard for the core principle of human rights in my opinion.

    The fact that this man feels he was wrongly convicted and that he IS entitled by law to resume his life are not mutually exclusive. The aim of rehabilitation is to ensure the convict does reoffend. It is not a means of coercing an unwilling apology, nor should it be.

    For the record I believe his conviction is sound, his lack of remorse reprehensible and if I were a supporter of his potential club I would have grave concerns about continuing my support … but then again, I don’t consider my opinion to carry more authority than a court of law, nor to take precedence over a contract of employment.

    I’d have greater respect for the author (and everyone else on the same bandwagon today) had she been inspired to write a dissertation on the merits and failings of our criminal justice system with regard to sexual offences alone, rather than this promising essay that regressed to a polemical piece of writing…

    I can read those in any red top covering this subject.

  16. Hi,

    I think that when someone is punished by a court for committing a crime then that is the end of the matter. I am alarmed at the unreasoning attitiude that once an idividual has been punished by the courts that he or she should find themselves being subjected to to non-judically prescribed punishement.

    Ideologists are happy to talk about fairness, diversity and equality, but isn’t is funny when it comes to crime and, in particular, rape, that is not the case?

    Women’s rights activists seem to have an unreasonable attitute on this matter. It’s almost as if they want all of us to agree to harass and persecute an individual on their behalf with the full might of the State and not question it?

    Perhaps we should?

    If women’s rights activists are reasonable then perhaps they could state what they consider a suitable punishment for a rapist?

    It’s an open question. A daring question. And I suspect that if we get any answers then they would be very telling indeed.

    I don’t expect any of them will be reasonable.

  17. Juteman says:

    He has served his time. This whole issue stinks of folk with an agenda, using this man for their own purposes.

    What about all the convicted criminals in the HoC and the HoL? Should they continue to make new laws when they have already broken others?

    What about all these convicted actors, many of them convicted for sexual crimes? I would argue they have more influence over young folk than footballers.

  18. Whats in a name? says:

    This is, I believe, my first comment on the site, though I am a semi-regular reader, or ‘lurker’ as I am told that the correct term is.
    Whilst it is reserving to see an intelligent and respectful debate around the Evans case, I was drawn to comment on this article due to my, partial, disagreement with the author in the face of my partisan support of the other articles she has written, from anti-Irish racism, through the administration of Scottish football, to the succint viewpoint on the best for Scotland’s future, both politically and proletariatly.
    To Miss/Mrs/Ms Haggerty, as an appreciator of your prose I find myself disappointed to read an article of yours with such obtuse bushing. In my opinion, Mr Evans case should be considered with caution as the anonymous originator of the campaign against him hasn’t been aptly catechised as to why there is a vehement campaign mounted against Mr Evans but, as in the comments above, nothing is said about a convicted multiple child killer professionally playing football or convicted sex offenders receiving positive media coverage and huge monetery sums. Two well known examples being an American World Champion boxer and an English multiple World Darts Champion. I believe it is in the interest of fairness to apropriate whether the fixation, by the anonymous campaigner, with, solely, Mr Evans case is potentially vexatious.
    Then we have the case itself, Mr Evans was convicted by a jury, partly, based on video evidence which cannot be distributed in the public domain due to its obscene nature therefore, I believe, that very few people outside of that particuar courtroom can accurately cast any aspersions about the case. I am minded that Mr Evans referrel to the CCRC is partly based on evidence which the judge deemed inadmissable in court and was not heard by the jury or appeal court. I feel that, by your article, you are of the mind that Mr Evans CCRC referral will fail and there is no scope to consider whether Mr Evans maybe another victim of a miscarriage of British Justice.
    You also mention that Mr Evans should not be allowed to return to his previous employment due to it being in a position of influence but, again, it appears as if Mr Evans as been singled out as you do not give comment on the various politicians and public figures who, when accused of heinous sexual crimes by numerous girls, rather than take action against false accusations or face charges in open court, sought Exemption from Prosecution Agreements in a case which is only now being acknowledged on this side of the Atlantic. Mentioned is the fact that the victim in this case has had to move home several times in order to protect her identity but there is no condemnation of your media colleagues that have published the name and photo of one of the girls that has accused many public figures, like a Royal Family member, of sexual crimes.
    Whilst I feel this is the most average of any of your articles that I have read, the message, like so much of your writing, is firmly of the future and improvement. As above, my main issue is that the article jumps on the bandwagon of a campaigner who, as far as I am aware, has not been appraised with due diligence and has ignored similar cases. Your last two paragraphs convey a message which should be commonplace and not just attributed to one case.

    From what you have written about your observations whilst working alongside Tessa it comes across, through your writing, that they do truly sterling work so I am, once again, disappointed that you did not include a weblink or the charity number, for donations, information, etc.

  19. To correct some of the comments here – Ched Evans has not served his sentence. He is out on licence, he is still serving his sentence. His victim’s sentence will last the rest of her life.

    I’m sad to say many of the responses reinforce the point I’m making about the need for a lot more education on sexual offences and an improvement of attitudes.

    1. Juteman says:

      I don’t need educated. I know the difference between right and wrong, and the difference between people seeking fairness, and those with an agenda.
      Maybe others need to look at their own reasoning.

      1. Bothy Basher says:

        ” I know the difference between right and wrong, ”

        When I read this phrase I want to reach for my Kalashnikov.

  20. Em Saanen says:

    Evans has a right to work. But as a convicted rapist who shows no remorse, he does not have a right to continue his life as normal, to have a privileged career as a celebrity footballer or to be a role model to football fans.

    And what about his victim? She has been forced to leave her ordinary life, and change her identity multiple times. When does she get a chance to get back to her life?

    I am concerned at the number of commenters here who do not understand how horrendous a crime like rape is.

  21. scot2go2 says:

    I am disturbed that the Rotherham fiasco has not produced the same amount of hand wringing as the Evans case. I am sure that abuse was equally involved there… I am sure that young vulnerable children were subject to various repugnant attacks by known individuals…. I am sure that D.N.A. evidence could have been made available and used to convict those who are apparently free to walk the streets without their livelihood being jeopardised. So until everyone is treated equal … the Evans case should not be used to further various hypocritical agendas.

    1. Bothy Basher says:

      Agreed Scot2. All this huffing and puffing serves to mask the crimes of the political and business class. Oh and Royals too. As always.

  22. lawrenceab says:

    I notice Angela Haggerty’s response to the comments criticising her position amounts to saying: “I am right. You are wrong. This shows you need educating”.

    Am I alone in finding this arrogant and unsatisfactory?

    I fully agree rape is appalling, that traditionally there has been far too little sympathy and respect for rape victims and many feminist voices have been valuable in drawing attention to this . I do believe society is working on it and we are seeing improvement in how this crime is handled. But you cannot extrapolate to claim a universal victimhood of women. I deferentially suggest that not all women are innocent, all the time.

    In this case, incidentally, the woman concerned never accused Ched Evans of rape. The police took that decision on their own initiative. The case is under appeal, with apparently new evidence submitted. I read that the CRC are fast tracking the process also. Perhaps the “indignati” could hold off baying at Ched Evans until the appeal process has yielded a result?

    Two other observations :
    Abusive behaviour from Ched Evans’ fans is reprehensible but not Evans’ fault. He has never encouraged that.
    As many have pointed out, in this country if you are convicted, you do your time, you pay your debt, then you have a right to get on with your life. Why shouldn’t he get back into professional football? What more if your chosen profession has a short shelf-life?

    I have the uncomfortable impression that the feminist vitriol directed at Evans is because he won’t prostrate himself to a world view that is summarised in my first sentence above.

    1. Bothy Basher says:

      I broadly agree with much of what Lawrence says.

      AH spoke of ”the need for a lot more education on sexual offences and an improvement of attitudes.” I fully agree and assume she means education for men and women, as her comments confirm on young women being unaware of what exploitation is. Any indignation on ‘education’ is misplaced and AH will no doubt confirm this.

      Long ago I was ‘educated’ by women friends on feminist issues; I was amazed just how little I questioned my then views. Education is gold.

      AH in her article says much that is unarguable. However, by focusing on this individual probable crime, she allows herself only a fleeting reference to systematic long term sexual crime – that of an establishment which has been so successful for so long in suppressing it.

      ”the position of an idolised footballer that children follow and look up to is preposterous.” Yes AH, so true – everyone who accepts without question the idea of ‘idols’ invites the problems we are discussing.

    2. bellacaledonia says:

      What a disgraceful sentence: ‘I have the uncomfortable impression that the feminist vitriol directed at Evans is because he won’t prostrate himself to a world view’. No. He won’t repent at all and has shown no remorse whatsover. That’s completely different. It’s not a ‘feminist vitriol’ it’s societal anger at the misogynist culture that prevails and the impotence of authorities.

  23. Bothy Basher says:

    Agreed Scot2. All this huffing and puffing serves to mask the crimes of the political and business class. Oh and Royals too. As always.

    By huffing and puffing I mean selective morality. If at the end of process Evans is found guilty then he should take the sentence, though not, as someone said, vigilante discrimination in employment which many want to see him get. I detest mobs, and there’s mob online and in print baying for his blood. It’s ugly..

    The issue of rape, sex crimes etc has to be addressed at a much wider and deeper level. It will involve capitalism, commerce, religion and many more aspects of social influence and control. It would need to examine the role of education and who it serves.

    To read above of young women not seeing how they are exploited shows how far the dumbing down of society has gone, driven by rightwing politicians, timid opposition and people like Murdoch and his smutty papers, adverts with sex as a selling point and so on. Women need to examine how they are manipulated by a rotten fashion industry into confusing sexual display with attractiveness.

    On an anecdotal note, am old enough to remember the times of Greer and the ‘Female Eunuch’ being published, and as a bloke being educated by female friends and partners, all new feminists. This at the time when pubs could no longer exclude women – my friends took a deep breath and went in, to take the hostility they met. But they won through. Now, among some women the word feminist seems to be dismissed. Some young women seen to be going backwards in awareness.Has there been a cultural shift which rolls back progress? Whose interests would that rollback serve? If this is true, I have no doubt that capital and the media are key villains.

  24. Fran says:

    It is indeed a wide and complex issue. Just to go back to the point made earlier, no one would deny that the killing of children as a result of drunk driving is a dreadful crime. The problem with rape is that its seriousness and even occurrence is too often denied.

    1. Bothy Basher says:

      ”The problem with rape is that its seriousness and even occurrence is too often denied”.

      Yes Fran. It is a crime which is denied or diminished yet is widely practised.

      This is why I want to see us go beyond the crime of one man, but we should look wider than that. And focusing on this man lets Establishment criminals off the hook. Sometimes it seems that this country can see no further than the sports field, but that’s why I detest football and sport for its bread and circuses purpose. And so willingly swallowed by so many. I see no outpouring of outrage about current royal rape.

      . It’s sickening.

  25. Bothy Basher says:

    Roger says to me

    ”You have commented a lot on this article regarding the issue with seeing footballers as influential figures but I have not seen you offer any solutions to this mindset other than accusing people of being part of the problem.

    Yes, damn right I accuse people of being part of the problem. You ask for my solutions -well I’ve pointed out to you how I see the roots of the problem and you agree. But then you lie back and ask me to spoon feed you every kind of answer. You might consider making a tiny effort.

    Pointing out the root of the issue is my contribution, what’s yours?

  26. Bothy Basher says:

    Cloe splutters

    January 7, 2015 • 12:13
    Part of what problem? The problem that Ched Evans might not get signed?”

    Show me where I said that? Go on, there’s my challenge to you. Where did I say that?

    Stop making up what people say – it is utterly dishonest and shabby. Get a life.

    1. chloemaclean says:

      Lol. If you are just going to accuse people of being part of the problem without saying what the problem is then we need to guess what the problem is. And where did I say that I agreed footballers should be role models anyway? I didnt, you assumed that and told me it was ‘my’ role model notions that were part of ‘the problem’. I didnt say they should be. As it currently stands though they are, and they are also massive public figures – whether we like it or not – and so that is the context within which I think we should read the Ched Evans case and this article.

      If you make vague statements and accusations then everyone else can only guess what you mean.

  27. lawrenceab says:

    testing, as I have been deleted

  28. Fran says:

    All rape is unacceptable no matter who the perpetrator is. And no one should be let off the hook for it. Being part of popular culture as a footballer is, its important that this message is gets out there. .

  29. leginge says:

    Ched Evans shows he is a deeply flawed individual when he is prepared to penetrate a drugged helpless woman for his own sexual pleasure. His mate sent a text “I’ve got a burd” – Evans replied “right I’ll be there” Like they’d snared an animal, only in this case it was a drunken woman. She was so drunk she’d lost all her belongings and mobile – they must have known this – still on they went, got their dirty pleasure and left the poor girl to wake up alone, naked in a strange hotel. Then he and his rich daddy-in-law launch a website campaign vilifying the girl. All you self-righteous scribblers should ask yersels – what would you do to the unrepentant mr evans if he did that to your daughter ? He would get a different kind of justice from me, I’ll tell you !

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