THE BLOG

Advice To Ched Evans

18/05/2017 16:34 BST | Updated 19/05/2017 07:57 BST
Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Feminist women get a lot of advice from men about where we should be focusing our attention, instead of rape or sexual assault or prostitution or porn, or child sexual abuse or the gender pay gap or all those other issues that make men feel uncomfortable. During debate on any of these issues we are eventually pointed towards Saudi Arabia. If all the feminists just toddled off to Saudi Arabia everything, everywhere for women would be good. This is what men tell us. A feminist is only ever five steps away from Saudi Arabia wherever she is in the world.

But, some advice is really stratospheric in the way it misses the mark. Some advice can take your breath away and leave your eyes on stalks. That happened today. There was a thunderous noise as feminist jaws throughout the land hit the floor.

It was the moment when women read that Ched Evans had deployed advice for women on how not to be raped by "real rapists". Ched advises, in an article for The Times.

"I also think 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."

Really? Thanks Ched. I'll address myself to you. Let's see if we understand you correctly. There are specific types of rapist, yes? The real ones and the pretend ones. Rape mythology is common and sadly juries frequently hold these myths as true too. The "real rapist" is seen by juries, and clearly you, as the possibly violent stranger who waits in a dark alley or behind a bush. The "real rapist" waits for a woman to wilfully enjoy herself at the beer pump or wine glass, almost in the same way that men do perhaps, by drinking until inebriated. You are suggesting that by drinking a woman has made a conscious decision to place herself in the category "available to be raped by a real rapist". Are you suggesting that a woman can stop a rapist by demonstrating certain "good" behaviour? Because they can't you know. Women who are sober are raped too.

The capacity to consent is crucial here. Consuming alcohol may mean that it is not possible for consent to be given. That does not mean that a woman should not drink. It means that a man who does not obtain consent from a woman whilst she is sober should definitely not go ahead and rape her. If he thinks he has obtained consent while she is drunk, he is mistaken because she cannot give it. It seems clear that the man who does not want to be considered a "real rapist" by the courts (and/or public opinion) should be the one who should take reasonable caution when engaging in sexual activity. Perhaps he should not drink so that he can make lawful decisions? Since rape is a crime that can only be committed by a biological male according to UK law, then the onus really is upon the man to police his own potentially rapist behaviour. I can see you think this is unfair. It isn't. It is the law.

Your statement also implies that when a woman drinks she can expect to be raped and should anticipate it as an outcome. How many drinks commit her to being raped? Or perhaps I have misunderstood and you are suggesting that only men should drink? Is that for the best? "Real rapists" can drink, but women should avoid it so that they can be alert when the real rapist launches his attack? How do you advise that sober women avoid rape? Because the power and intent of a "real rapist" attacking you is pretty much the same.

The real rapist makes a conscious decision to rape. The woman who drinks is simply living her life in the reasonable belief that she will be free of crime when she indulges in legal behaviour like socialising. She is moving around the world and consuming products in it with the freedom that a man has. That is protected by law incidentally. She has no obligation to behave differently because of her sex class. All humans should be free of sexual violence, no?

Going back to the "real rapist". In around 90% of cases he is a known man. He is a partner, friend, husband, uncle, colleague, ex-partner. He is someone the woman probably has a level of trust in. He may be someone she has only just met. When she meets him however she will not know that he is "really" a rapist. We struggle to identify rapists and are keen to see the government introduce a scheme where the "real rapists" wear a badge. If that happens then we can know which men to avoid.

You say "girls". I wonder if you know that women of all ages are raped? An 81-year-old woman was raped by Antony Roberts after being followed from her bus and was convicted in April this year. In fact, as your fellow footballer Adam Johnson found out, indulging in sexual activity with "girls" can lead to jail.

You say in the article, "if a drunk woman sleeps with a drunk man, there is only one person who can be charged and that is the man". Firstly, no one goes to jail for sleeping. It is only if they insert their penis inside the other person who cannot consent to them doing it. This isn't unfair. Again it is UK law. I don't think you find UK law very fair. Neither do women actually. Out of 78,000 rapes a year only around 1100 proceed to conviction. Most women realise that the system does not work in their favour from the point of entry. Many don't bother reporting for that reason. When you are thinking about unfairness then perhaps you could get "annoyed" about that? Perhaps you could be "Really Annoyed Of Alderley Edge" and write to The Times.

What I am perplexed by is that you appear to have walked into a trap. I fear that The Times were having a laugh in the office and thinking of practical jokes to play and they thought it might be a grin to ask your views on what women should know about rape. Why didn't someone advise you not to? The journalists at The Times must have punched the air. It is such a profoundly misguided PR exercise on your part. There is nothing that will lead to your views on sexual violence being respected by the public as either informed or motivated by concern for women victims.

In which case the whole ridiculous piece could probably be laughed into space if it were not for this final statement.

"I genuinely feel for the girl, her life has been ruined and she had a tough time of it... I feel like we are both victims."

This is something feminist women will not accept. Comparing your experience with those of the complainant is a despicable comment that is completely lacking any self-awareness. Here is a small piece of advice from a feminist.

Allow the female complainant as much peace as she is able to obtain by keeping yourself as quiet and low profile as it is possible for a footballer like yourself to be. We would like you to be respectful of complainants everywhere and not raise your voice in the arena of male violence against women again. We have seen and heard enough of you. These views are ill-informed and damaging to both women and men.

Ched Evans was acquitted of rape at a retrial. Largely, though not solely, due to the new evidence presented at his retrial and allowed as part of Section 41 of the Youth and Criminal Justice Act which allowed aspects of the complainants sexual history to be used against her in court. There are requests being put to government at present that seek to change this aspect of the law. I hope they succeed.