The story of Ched Evans has appeared in the media since he was released from prison on 17th October 2014 after only serving 2 1/2 years of a 5 year prison sentence for rape. As much as I think commenting on issues relating to sexual assault and rape and stories in the media are important to cover on this blog, I didn't want to weigh in immediately on this story. Partially because I was away when it all kicked off, partly because I wasn't in the right frame of mind to comment but mostly because I wanted to see what happened. I wanted to see whether he made any apologies to the woman who survived what he did to her, whether he made any definitive statements about being in prison or said anything at all.
What did we get? An unremorseful man who is only interested in self-preservation and pity play who has learnt absolutely nothing. He is an unrepentant rapist. Evidence? A disgusting website he runs in his name proclaiming his innocence and has done from the beginning. What's worse than that is his pityful video statement he released 5 days after his release (interestingly, the comments section was disabled on the video. I wonder why?) I've decided to break down his statement and counter-argue some of his points.
'In May 2011, at a hotel in Wales, by cheating on my partner Natasha I hurt the woman I love with all my heart. Since that night I have constantly regretted my act of infidelity and the damage that has been done on so many fronts because of it.'
So the major thing he did wrong was cheat on his girlfriend? Not the fact that he took an extremely drunk woman away into a hotel room and did what he did to her whilst his mates were filming from outside.
'The application [referencing his appeal application] seeks to demonstrate that the act I engaged in on that night was consensual in nature and not rape.'
Well good luck arguing against the witness statement, the CCTV that demonstrated how horrendously drunk she was, the witnesses who testified to seeing her so drunk she couldn't maintain any reasonable balance or ability to walk properly, the DNA evidence.... I'm sure that'll work out! What does he propose as evidence - the sickening film footage his mates filmed of him?
'Now that I have served the custodial part of my sentence of two-and-a-half years it is my hope that I will be able to return to football. If that is possible then I will do so with humility, having learned a very painful lesson'
Your sentence was 5 years, not 2 1/2. Quite why he was released half-way through is beyond me considering that he is demonstrating absolutely no sense of remorse for what he did or any kind of empathy towards the survivor who he fails to acknowledge throughout his statement. He has learnt absolutely no lessons.
'I would like a second chance but I know that not everyone will agree. I don't believe I have a given right to play again but for any club to take me on, I have learned a valuable lesson and know that all the time I can prove myself to be a positive influence - not just on the pitch, but also in the community.'
A positive influence for what - self-pitying rapist scumbags and their wannabes? Seriously, what good has this man ever done that can bring about anything positive? I fail to see anything from the public record that would suggest he would be positive for anybody. I repeat: he has learnt absolutely no lessons.
The public reaction has been mixed. On the one hand, you have people supporting Ched Evans some of which who harassed the survivor who had to move away from her family and change her identity just to escape. On the other, over 150,000 people signed a petition to his former club Sheffield United asking them not to re-hire him. A patron of the club whose a survivor herself has threatened to quit the club if Evans returns. Rape Crisis, the charity I fundraise for, spoke out on the case before his statement was released. I would also like to quote a part of their statement as my final remark: there is only one victim in this case. It is not Ched Evans. It is the woman he raped.
Lots of love and solidarity <3 XXX