Ched Evans Wins A Case Through Victim Blaming

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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.

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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.

White Feminism: Lena Dunham Edition

Another week, another ‘feminist’ celebrity revealing their stunted and privileged version of white feminism to the masses. This time, is was the chance of self-proclaimed ‘saviour’ of women (and best friend of Taylor Swift, who else) Lena Dunham.

Lena Dunham published an informal interview that she had with her friend Amy Schumer (another questionable advocate of white feminism as seen here). In the interview, she confessed at the met gala how Odell Beckham Jr. – a black football player for the New York Giants – objectified and judged her.

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Despite Odell doing nothing but sit next to Dunham and not speak to her, Dunham castigates him on several levels. Dunham projected her own personal insecurities through her lack of attention from Odell: ‘he looked at me and he determined I was not the shape of a woman by his standards.’ Going on to vocalise and imagine Odell’s inner monologue as ‘The vibe was very much like, “Do I want to fuck it? Is it wearing a … yep, it’s wearing a tuxedo. I’m going to go back to my cell phone.”

In one fail swoop, Dunham weakly attempts to critique societal female body expectations while perpetuating the over-sexualisation of black men. All the while imagining that Odell would have these base animalistic assumptions over being sat next to a tuxedoed woman who isn’t a 6-foot tall size zero model.

This is the pure definition of white feminism as it exists. While trying to break down barriers for your personal gain, Dunham ignores the complications of race which she continues to uphold and perpetuate. The lines of racial inequality which she doesn’t face – and has no time to delve into between her ‘busy’ schedule – are conveniently ignored for her ‘feminist’ agenda.

Not that this should be a surprise, with her ‘Girls’ series being set in central New York, yet the absence of any person of colour is glaring. In an interview talking about the absence of POC in her series, she said ‘I’d been thinking so much about representing weirdo, chubby girls and strange half-Jews that I had forgotten that there was an entire world of women being underserved.’

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So in not so many words, Dunham was too busy depicting herself and her struggles to stop and look around her to understand her privilege as a white woman. She merely wants to continue seeing herself as the main victim, ignoring the intricacies of other people’s experince of inequality. Which succinctly defines the rotten core of white feminism.

Dunham has since apologized about her words on Odell at the Met Gala, and unsuprisingly it’s not really that satisfying.

Her long comment alongside an Instagram picture reading ‘Sorry Flowers Die’ Dunham writes a lengthy paragraph ‘apologising’ and talking – once again – about herself.

The paragraph doesn’t take much responsibility, but explains her actions through an emotional display. Once again building herself up as a victim of body shaming, despite no one attacking her at any point for this.

The thing is, Dunham would have had a valid point discussing how she felt insecure at the Met Gala when surrounded by models, singers and actresses who themselves feel this same level of pressure. But instead, she created herself as a victim. She was instead a white woman accusing a black man of this level of misogyny for no rhyme or reason. Whether in ‘humour’ or not, Dunham decided to create a racial element to discuss her body image issues. And in turn could have affected the reputation of a successful black athlete through no fault of his own.

What’s more is that this as a printed publication by Dunham, meaning she had edited and approved the interview and saw no issue with her comments at any point. It was not a slip of the tongue but was a thought out discussion and process which she thought her points were fair and valid.

Lena Dunham has and always will be a self-obsessed white feminist who is blind to anyone else’s plight other than her own – which will always be the most important. Her apology did not highlight the issue of race in her words and didn’t address the need of intersectionality in her immensely flawed white feminism.

Dunham responded the way she did due to understandable incredulous backlash at her ridiculous comments. I still don’t think she grasps the need for intersectionality in feminism which frankly casts her ‘feminism’ into disrepute.

Her complete disregard of POC’s experiences and intersectionality changed what could have been a positive conversation on female body image pressures to an education on race. There is always room to improve and learn, and intersectional feminism is the only valid form of feminism. But Dunham has time and time again continued in her white feminism in such an unashamed way, that I question how she can even call herself a feminist?

What Happened to Taylor Swift?

If anything, I’ve been a vague fan of Taylor Swift since she became famous. She made average but catchy music that I would always end up humming at a later point, and was nothing special but was generically inoffensive.

Also, she was a non-sexualised, intelligent role model for girls – which is always something positive.

Although she did have songs that praised her ‘wearing sneakers’ and ‘sitting on the bleachers’ rather than wearing high heels or cheer-leading in a problematic depiction of girl on girl hate, but whatever – she was young, right?

But she has recently spawned into something awful, beyond just her white feminist values, but being so blinded by her own fame she believed herself untouchable.

Taylor was brought back to reality by Kim Kardashian’s fool-proof evidence of Taylor’s lies against Kanye, and crushed the curated image of the victimised little girl and showed the world the truth of Taylor’s false and dangerously orchestrated image.

Now, Kanye’s use of the word ‘bitch’ to describe Taylor is offensive, and the use of the word by men is a minor logistical part of sexism that I am uncomfortable with. So if she was unaware of this line then I appreciate her annoyance.

However, she never said it was the use of misogynistic language, but argued that she was never told about it, and never agreed to the lyrics saying Kanye made her famous. She even alluded to it in her Grammy acceptance speech, saying that ‘people will try and take credit for your fame and success’ and preached to women to stay strong. Removing any ambiguity to the fact she was taking an issue with the whole lyric, not just ‘bitch’.

Tearing down a black man for being misogynistic and cruel, while victimising yourself as an innocent white woman being preyed on, creates an uncomfortable racial edge which is only heightened when it’s revealed that she in fact lied about it.

A line that succinctly sums it up in this article put it into perspective for me, ‘In 2016, [Taylors] get people fired. In 1916, [Taylors] got people lynched.’

Taylor labels herself a protector of women’s rights, along with her ‘girl crew’ of Lena Dunham and other White Feminists™. When in reality, Kim Kardashian is a far better and real version of feminism than Taylor ever will be.

Although not perfect, she has risen from the misogynistic ashes of her sex tape used to smear her name, and created an empire around herself.

She has taken autonomy of her own body – defining the sexual side of feminism, and how women can love their body and project it outwards, as long as they own their own rights and the image isn’t created by the male gaze.

She has managed to create an image of herself and a version of feminism without being outwardly vicious to many other people, (Amber Rose being an exception, which she partially rectified).

Taylor has been outed as a falsely victimized, mean girl, white feminist – and it makes perfect sense as to why she’s been leaving such a bad taste in my mouth for a few months. She wasn’t the young, country girl from 2009 – she was very much a mean girl who knew how to manipulate the media for her own means, and throwing other people and including women (Katy Perry) under the bus while doing so.

Taylor, your facade is over and the dream is gone – you can keep your version of ‘feminism’ because it’s not working for me, or apparently for you anymore.