Ched Evans – a footballer, primarily known for being convicted of the rape of a 19-year-old woman, before being found not guilty at a retrial – wants to advise you on how not to get raped.
Evans, who served two and a half years of his five-year sentence for rape, before his conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal, said during an interview with The Times, that “a lot of work needs to be done in relation to consent, because I definitely think that the police have an agenda to find ways to charge people and the easiest one is the drunk one.”
“I also think that women need to be made aware of the dangers they can put themselves in because there are genuine rapists out there who prey on girls who have been drinking.”
So, in short, to steer clear of sexually predatory men. Don’t drink, don’t get drunk, don’t go out in short skirts. Don’t venture out after dark, don’t travel alone, don’t wear headphones at night, don’t flirt, don’t have too many sexual partners. Or, how about don’t listen to an egocentric footballer with a shocking contempt and lack of respect for women, who acts with an absence of self-awareness so astounding it’s barely comprehensible.
That “rapists will be rapists”, and “boys will be boys”, and women should know better is the infuriating, cyclical rhetoric we’re bombarded with again and again
What a sorry state, when Evans is given a platform to make these comments, and to further shame women subjected to appalling violence. Regardless of the status of his conviction, it’s relevant in this case to recognise the context from which he makes this irresponsible assertion – before any trial or conviction, the behaviour of Evans and his supporters was disgusting. The 19-year-old complainant in the case was the focus of intense, vile abuse, and it’s widely reported that she and her family have been forced to move home five times since she reported Evans to the police. Vera Baird, police and crime commissioner, said in October that Evans’ case had set progress back by "about 30 years".
What’s even sadder – and more harrowing – is that, Evans is actually a fitting representative of society’s attitudes towards women and rape. That “rapists will be rapists”, and “boys will be boys”, and women should know better is the infuriating, cyclical rhetoric we’re bombarded with again and again. It is so frequently implied that women can be held accountable for crimes made against them, whilst men are rarely told to, y'know, stop raping women, that it becomes, to many, an accepted norm. And the idea that women can do what the fuck they want, and behave however the fuck they want becomes tragically lost, with devastating consequences.
Evans speaks under the guise of “protecting women” in order to protect men. He might not guilty of rape, but he’s still a wilfully ignorant snake. Today, he’s proved that beyond all reasonable doubt.