Ched Evans was a successful English footballer for Sheffield United. Ched Evans is now in prison, serving a five year sentence for raping a teenager too drunk to consent to sex. So far, so good.
However, after his sentencing outraged football fans and general misogynists took to Twitter to denigrate the rape victim. In a shameless display of outrage over a woman daring to defend her right to bodily integrity, Twitter trolls took to the their keyboards. #ChedEvans trended almost instantly, followed by #JusticeForChed. Some blamed the victim, focusing on her drunkenness. Other tweets were simply vile. For example, one from fellow Sheffield United footballer Connor Brown called her a “money grabbing little tramp.”
Identity revealed, Tweeters arrested
In addition to these insults, many also tweeted the identity of the woman. This broke English law that makes breaching the anonymity of rape survivors a crime. In a bold move, the Twitter users in question have now been arrested.
Yet, as one journalist points out, the effective use of laws designed to provide justice and protection for rape victims is only half of the battle. What this nasty set of events shows is the long way we still have to go until women are adequately protected from sexual violence and discrimination. The Ched Evans case evidences a damaging culture that blames women for seeking just retribution at the expense of men, presumes ulterior motives – such as jealousy, revenge or greed – lie behind rape claims and believes consent lies in the length of a woman’s skirt or sexiness of her bra instead of in her words and actions.
Until these attitudes are tackled, no amount of laws will prevent women from rape or its harrowing fallout.