Ched Evans and the wrong kind of rape

Musa Okwonga

50854318 300x217 Ched Evans and the wrong kind of rapeLast week Ched Evans, the leading goalscorer for Championship aspirants Sheffield United, was convicted of the rape of a 19-year old woman: a crime for which he received a five-year prison sentence.  Evans’ friend, his team-mate Clayton McDonald, had brought the woman back to a hotel with him: McDonald had sexual intercourse with her, after which Evans did so. It was ruled that the woman was too drunk to have given Evans consent.  McDonald was acquitted of the same charge.

The response from several quarters has been interesting.  The victim’s supposed name is said to have been revealed, and to have been subjected to abuse on Twitter. One of Evans’s team-mates has even called the victim a “slag” and a “money-grabbing little tramp”.  Meanwhile, the PFA, in what looks at best to be a PR problem, has named Evans to its League 1 team of the year.

It has been equally interesting to read the thoughts of many others on Twitter.  Of course, there are the usual virulent types, but there are also those who seem genuinely confused by the ruling.  How, they ask, can McDonald have been cleared of rape, and his close friend convicted?  Some are commenting that surely she agreed to have sex with both of them? Wasn’t it a simple case of her waking up the next day, regretting it, and then crying foul? The CCTV evidence however proved that she had in fact gone to the hotel in a taxi only with McDonald. He then later texted Evans and invited him over to the room stating he had “got a bird”.

I wonder if, at some level, several people feel that Evans was convicted of “the wrong kind of rape”.  The image of rape which many people understand, and at which they recoil in horror, is that of a masked stranger moving out of the dark and setting a knife to the victim’s throat.  I think that an image like this is one that people can readily rationalise, because it characterises – almost caricatures – the rapist as nocturnal monster beyond society, instead of someone who moves calmly among us, and who is indistinguishable from anyone else.

The Evans case vexes so many people, I think, because it is so far from the grotesque picture in the above paragraph; because rape implies that sexual consent is always torn violently from a woman, rather than deemed to have been withheld due to mere drunkenness.  Otherwise, we have to accept another, more worrying possibility: that, despite the best advocacy efforts of groups like Mumsnet, this scenario is much closer to the everyday reality of rape than we’d all like to think.

Note: The use of the word “supposed” in this piece is not to cast doubt on the testimony of the victim.  It is has been used for legal reasons, since the identity of the victim has not been publicly confirmed. Comments are closed to protect the identity of the victim.

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  • And789

    So, you are a woman. Doesn’t automatically mean that you have one iota of intelligence, does it?

  • TomNightingale

    Who is his lawyer? He sounds good!

  • john m

    You are buying into the Daily mail’s daily diet of false allegations that simply do not reflect the reality of sex crimes in this country.

    “This agenda is run by feminists”……you are a paranoid misogynist.  

  • john m


  • john m

    So what she had a note tied to her pants that said “help yourself boys!”?

  • TomNightingale

    I do…women just won’t accept they should pay. They seem to think I do it for fun!

  • freey

    This is a travesty. The woman, not girl,
    was 19. Legally an adult, entitled to drink and to consent to sex. She was not
    a child. The judge said 
    “there had been no force involved and the complainant received no
    injuries. the complainant was not ‘targeted’ and the attack had not been

    Are adult women now legally designated
    children with no responsibility for their own behaviour?

    If so they should not be allowed to buy or
    consume alcohol and her parents should not have allowed her out late at night
    to consort with footballers.

    “I sincerely hope that the guilty
    verdict will provide some closure on this horrendous ordeal for the victim and
    that she will be able to rebuild her life which was shattered by the events of
    May 30″

    Not nearly as horrendous ordeal as that
    imposed upon this young man for her “buyers remorse”.

    More cases like this will occur and in
    future this feminist inspired misandrist legal travesty will be seen for what it


  • pejaycee

    If I was abused on Twitter, I’d never know.

  • Penney Poyzer

    I think this a tragic case in many ways; lives ruined all round. For me there are two issues to consider concerning responsibility or rather the lack of it. Drinking alcohol is a choice, you can drink responsibly or choose not to – unless of course your drink is spiked. Think of the criminal activity linked to it and the cost to society. 

    We also have fabulously rich young footballers who to a certain extent believe they are all powerful. That creates a false glamour, which in itself is dangerous. These young men took advantage of a young woman who was obviously in no fit state to say yes or no, they lacked any sense of responsibility, they were predating a vulnerable woman and they KNEW that. So I guess the lesson for the young woman and these men is that they are all responsible for the situation they got into but the men used their power to get what they wanted. Sex, money, alcohol, lack of responsibility is a dangerous cocktail and to be avoided. 

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