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Footballer’s rape victim named and abused on twitter

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Heather Kennedy
WVoN co-editor

Just when we thought the darkest and most putrid underbelly of human nature had shown itself via the moral rollercoaster that is social media, out crawls the saga of Ched Evans.

Sheffield United striker Ched Evans was convicted last week of raping a nineteen year old girl after the court ruled she was too drunk to consent. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

A high profile case that could have encouraged other rape victims to come forward has instead turned into a frenzied binge of victim blaming, that on the eve of St George’s day should leave us a nation hanging our heads in shame.

On the night of the attack, Evans and fellow footballer Clayton McDonald had seen the girl falling over in a kebab shop before McDonald took her back to his hotel room.

Whilst in the taxi on the way home, McDonald texted Evans to say he had “got a bird”.

McDonald was found not guilty of the same charge after the court decided he had sex with the girl consensually.

The girl woke the next morning naked and alone in the hotel room. It is thought the pair booked the room with the intention of procuring a woman for sex.

Other friends watched through the hotel window whilst Evans had sex with the victim, one man trying to film the incident on his mobile phone.

The jury heard that, as McDonald left the hotel, he told hotel reception staff: ‘You know that girl I was with? Keep an eye her. She’s sick.’

Evans left the hotel through a fire escape shortly after raping the girl.

Following Evans’ sentence, no one could have anticipated the frenzied pantomime of hatred that would ensue.

Just a few hours after the court decision, hashtag #justiceforChed was trending on twitter.

For many people who were unconvinced about the seething reality of rape culture, this barrage of tweets left them in no doubt.

Evans’ team mate Connor Brown led the chorus of victim blaming with a series of tweets including ‘If ur a slag ur a slag don’t try get money from being a slag [sic]… Stupid girls… I feel sick.’

Some of the most repellent tweets have been recorded by one brave blogger on the Tumblr page ‘Little tweets of misogyny‘.

Here are a few of the tweets in question, just to give you a flavour:

‘Ched Evans doing what any other #lad would do’

‘Ched Evans jailed for 5 years the slag shouldn’t have gone back to the hotel room ruined career for a young lad #disgrace #womensworld’

‘I don’t believe this Ched Evans raped a girl at all, doesnt add up, he’s been stiched up by another fame hungry whore #ChedEvans’

But it was when some of Evans’ supporters began naming and abusing the victim openly on Twitter that the usual ‘freedom of speech’ defence of digital ugliness went out the window.

It is an offence in the UK to name rape victims who are granted life time anonymity.

North Wales police are gathering evidence and criminal action could be taken against the many tweeters who named the victim.

The campaign group End Violence Against Women said in a statement: “This raises serious questions about the adequacy of the criminal justice system to deal with offences that occur online and we are calling for an urgent review of laws and practices.”

For those supporters concerned that a rape conviction might damage Evans’ career prospects, they needn’t worry.

After the sentencing, the Professional Football Association honoured Evans by including him in the League One team of the season, a decision defended by its chief executive, Gordon Taylor, who said it was a “football decision not a moral decision”.

  1. vicki wharton says:

    A good number of young men and women have no sense of right and wrong anymore – they think anyone that is old, young, drunk, invalided through injury or birth is fair game for whatever shit they can dish at them – whilst their grinning, spineless parents look on if they haven’t already fucked off out of the picture entirely. I am so angry with this alternative lawless world of the internet, where people are barbaric and hideous towards a girl who got pissed – got pissed – and was hideously abused by these two guys and their grinning filming friends who turned up on the scene – er … how did they know where to find this freaky footballer rapist and his coperpetrator? And Gordon Taylor says that honouring this bastard is a footballing decision not a moral one – and they wonder why football is seen as immoral and acts as if it is above the law?

    No wonder girls don’t report rape – who seriously would want to put themselves through this rubbish of a charade of justice?!!!

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