Ched Evans Wins A Case Through Victim Blaming

TW;Rape

Last week, systematic victim blaming meant that Ched Evans was found not guilty of raping a 19-year-old girl in a retrial where he was previously found guilty. Through his ‘privilege’ allowing him to buy the power of victim blaming the woman.

In this trial, the victim has been subjected to what every rape victim fears. The endless questioning of her past actions that ultimately convinced the jury of Evans’ innocence.

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According to RapeCrisis UK statistics, only 15% of those who experience sexual violence report it to police and only 5.7% of those reported end in successful convictions. So for Evans to have been brought to court makes me think there was a strong amount of truth and justification for this girl to report Evans.

In the wake of the innocent ruling, the girl has been torn down as a manipulative, lying ‘slag’. With no reference to the grey area of consent this fell into – with the girl having no memory of the incident. On top of this, Evans admitted to not speaking to the girl at any point.

The crux of the case balanced upon the new key witnesses of the case that were brought in by Evans’ expensive private investigation team. The witnesses that made Evans’ lawyers enact the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence act to enable victim blaming questioning of the girl on her sexual past.

This private investigation team found since the first sentencing that the girl had had sex with two men, one in the days before the incident and one in the days after. The claims that turned this case was that one man said she insisted he ‘ripped her clothes off’ and told him to ‘go harder’. This matched the statement given by Evans that he said proved it was consensual, with the girl encouraging him to ‘go harder’ and therefore proving consent.

This was the key point which led the judge to rule that these past relationships undermined the victim’s claims and helped the jury reach the not guilty verdict.

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The victim was subjected to such blatant victim blaming. She has been defined as a girl who enjoyed sex, who in coded terms was called a ‘slut’ and could by no means say no to sex.

The blame had been turned from Evans – who had sex with a very drunk girl without saying a word to her – to the woman who had woken up disorientated in a strange place with no memory of the previous night.

Evans’ chance to quash his guilty verdict and to drag the victim through the mud was based around his reputation and wealth. It gave him the ability to fund a private investigation and £50,000 rewards to any witnesses that could help. So the money and power of Evans’ side was what ultimately trumped the victim’s innocence – and her right to dignity and protection.

In the retrial, based on this new evidence, it was decided that drunk consent is still consent and therefore it was not a case of rape.

The problem is, that the concerning effects of this trial does not stop here. Evans is a professional footballer playing for the likes of Manchester City in the past and Evans’ involvement in this hyper-masculine environment creates an ultimately more damaging level to this case.

Going back to when Evans was a convicted rapist, he was allowed back at training at football club Sheffield United. This was a move widely criticised across the board, but was defended tooth and nail by many football fans.

It is these fans that responded with vitriol to the recent court findings with victim blaming rhetoric. Celebrating the innocent verdict, and how ‘they always knew’ Evans was innocent and the ‘manipulative slag’ should be either imprisoned or killed.

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This alone disregards the fact that this verdict is judged around the grey area of consent, and that the girl is not lying but cannot remember due to her believing her drink was spiked. This should result in a call to detailed education on consent, and not a win against these ‘feminazis’.

This woman had a traumatic experience which resulted in her believing she had been raped, and Evans’ took advantage of a woman who he did not receive explicit consent from despite her questionable state. If it has not been ruled as rape, it was definitely a case of Evans taking advantage of a vulnerable woman – and this should be what is taken away from this. He was put on trial due to raping a woman due to his lack of knowledge and awareness around consent.

Women already fear reporting sexual crimes due to the culture of disbelief, the traumatising cross-examining and the essential witch hunt that follows them – despite being a victim.

The victim is now 24 and has had to change her name five times, after being sought out by twitter trolls who published her name online. She has received death threats and had to move away from her home, losing precious time with her mother who died recently.

In the face of all this, she was then failed by the justice system on several counts and Evans was found not guilty in the wake of her sexual past.

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This case is worrying in the fact that it is a rarity that a rape case is brought to trial, let alone for a guilty verdict to be given. For that to then be quashed, and then have the victim dragged through the mud due to the power of money and reputation of the accused is only a win for rape culture.

This will give significant rise to misogyny as an example that will be drawn upon as ‘proof’ to why another rape victim could be lying. The fact that a verdict relied purely upon the victim blaming and sexual shaming of the victim, and was ultimately successful for the accused, is going to bring worrying trends in the face of rape cases.

Yet another reason for rape victims to not report their case. For the fear that their sexual history will be flagged up, they won’t be believed – and now this high-profile case gives ammunition to all those misogynist, victim blaming people who jump to shout ‘liar’.

This should not be a case that highlights ‘lying rape victims’, but one that underlines the need for consent to be clarified in more confusing situations. Consent is not always as clear cut as it is made out to be, and the responsibility falls on the person making sexual advances to clarify consent when it is not crystal clear.

Ched Evans wrongly held the power in this trial and used that to shame the victim and win the case. This will work to strengthen rape culture, when it should be seen as evidence for compulsory consent education.

Joanna Lumley Defends Wolf-Whistling

Before this wolf-whistling comment, I held Joanna Lumley in my estimations as someone who had good political motives. As a woman with a lot of political activism under her belt, I saw her as progressive and positive. She was unquestionably the face of the Ghurkha campaign that worked to allow Nepalese Ghurkhas who fought in the British army a right to settle in Britain.

Since then, she’s done a lot to help charities working to reduce poverty in various places across the world, and aid in awareness to environmental issues such as climate change and droughts.

For these causes shes helped immensely, but once again proves herself as a promising woman in the lime-light who turns out as a bitter disappointment.

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This was due to the fact that this week Lumley came out to prove herself as ignorant in matters. Namely those surrounding gender politics – despite her power and responsibility on other issues. She came out saying that wolf-whistling should be taken as a compliment, and that people are becoming too sensitive and offended by anything in today’s society.

Now this statement alone is ridiculous, but becomes laughable when her argument centres around the fact that in the 1960s it was much worse. With her claiming photographers did much worse, calling you ‘podgy’ and told you if you looked awful. But of course, it was just light ‘banter’. So, because we are expected to have basic human decency from men in 2016, we should stop there?

With Lumley saying this, many people have come out celebrating her as ‘someone finally talking sense’ in the world of PC gone mad. Lumley, with her reputable name in the world of political conscientiousness, has much more weight to her comments.

Because she is respected in terms of political matters, she gives more ammo to those who are already incredulous that wolf-whistling and catcalling is an act of sexism and intimidation. People are able to say that if Lumley says this, then it must be credible as she is a woman to be trusted on matters such as these.

However, Lumley is perpetuating an outdated and severely damaging idea on catcalling and sexism. Even if wolf-whistling was to be deemed a ‘compliment’ with the sole purpose to allow a man to let a woman know she’s attractive, that doesn’t mean it is acceptable.

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If I look attractive, I do not need to be whistled at or have any confirmation of the matter from a man. What’s more, I certainly don’t need it in the form of a whistle like I’m some sort of animal.

The concept that wolf-whistling is done to show attraction to a woman and not intimidation or a form of power-play is purely ridiculous as it is. If it was done as a way to show attraction, why use a whistle. A wolf-whistle doesn’t invite any form of conversation to follow. What relationship has started by a man whistling at a woman in a street? None. So the point that it’s done by attraction is complete rubbish.

Anyone who has been whistled at by a group of men when they are walking alone down a dark street knows it has nothing to do with showing attraction. When I’ve been leered at by builders from above – cheering and whistling – I have felt belittled and demeaned, not complimented.

Joanna Lumley has stated people were tougher in the 60s, and it’s a bit of harmless banter. Once again fuelling the culture of ‘banter’ that is often used to cover up toxic behaviour, in a bid to label Feminazi’s as drab and lacking humour. A word that in one fail swoop silences those belittled women in a fear they are labelled as so, and fear for being mocked for not having a sense of humour.

With Lumley supporting this, it is damaging not only because she is a woman but because she is a respected woman in the political world. She not only is respected, but is also shown to have progressive ideas on other political matters – so cannot be ruled out as a blindly conservative and ignorant woman.

Although Lumley has had an important hand to play in certain issues, she has had no input towards issues surrounding gender politics. And this one comment proves that her views across the board differ greatly, with her outdated views on women clearly being stuck in the 1960s.

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Just because I have to face less overt misogyny than I would have in the 1970s does not mean to say we have reached equality. Implicit levels of misogyny are rife, and are still deemed as acceptable social behaviour.

I should not be made to feel intimidated and demeaned by a man. A man deciding he needs to let me know I’m attractive by whistling at me, like I’m a piece of meat, there for his sexual gratification. This week, even Playboy released an article around how you shouldn’t catcall – so how has Lumley missed the boat?

Lumley’s comment has merely fuelled the fire of people intent on not listening to the voices of the women telling them how they feel, and deciding themselves how we should feel. Lumley’s comments merely give them justification; as a woman and as a political active woman, she is deemed a reliable source on the matter. But she isn’t.

Her views are outdated and silence the valid views of women wishing to not be scared to walk down the street wearing what they please and when they please for the fear of being degraded by men. Misogyny should be seen nationwide as a hate crime, following Nottingham police force’s lead.

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When women such as Pagan-Lilley Motlagh-Phillips are being attacked and hospitalised for not responding to catcalls, it becomes chillingly clear that catcalls and wolf-whistling is a form of intimidation and not complimentary.

Catcalling is a form of hate crime and should be seen as just that, no matter what an old lady stuck in the 1960s thinks.