Ched Evans: Yeah, what the fuck happened there?

This morning, ex-Wales international and Premiership footballer, Ched Evans, has had his conviction for rape quashed and a re-trial has been ordered. Evans was convicted of raping a 19 year old woman in 2012. Heartbreaking. The victim who has been berated on social media and had to move many times, and has to go through this all again in her head and very much in the public eye. The reason why this is very controversial is because a huge proportion of people in this country believe you reap what you sew. In this case, the victim chose to go out drinking. In doing she has to live with the consequences of her actions. This is where informed consent becomes a thing.

What is informed consent? Well, let’s look at it this way. You have to have an operation, it’s going to be 99.9% successful  but there is that risk. You have to sign a consent form knowing all the risks. With rape, when you consent to having sex with one person, informed consent is the belief that you consent to having relations with someone else. In the case of Ched Evans alleged victim, she allegedly consented to having sex with footballer Clayton McDonald, who was also charged with rape but then acquitted at the same trial where Ched was originally gound guilty. The victim was allegedly drunk and passed out, and that’s where Ched allegedly came from. Since the victim had alleged consensual sex moments previous, informed consent applies that he would be liable to any other sex around that time. Therefore, the victim shouldn’t have claimed she raped in the first place. The same can be said if you are married. Informed consent is having sex with your husband, even if you don’t want to just because he is your husband you have to and he makes/forces you. No you fucking don’t, that is rape.

Informed consent has split the social media commentators in two. The most horrible thing about it for me, is that women believe the alleged victim wasn’t raped because the victim had got drunk and passed out. That if the victim got in such a state, the victim deserved it. Classic victim blaming. The second worse thing is that a very select group of men think they can put their penis inside of a woman when she and they are very drunk, when they haven’t heard the word ‘yes’. To the women who think you deserve the consequences, think about this: have you got so drunk that you woke up next to someone you didn’t know, had those awkward goodbyes and went and did your stride of pride home? Do you remember how you met that guy? Did you phone your friends saying “Oh my god, I woke up next to this guy this morning, I can’t remember if we had sex but I was naked in his bed! Oh well, all part of a great night out!”. You shouldn’t think like that, you have to consider the very real possibility that you were raped. Drinking alcohol isn’t consenting to have sex.

Twitter has been awash with opinion since the news broke this morning and I’ve taken five minutes to go through some mentions. They are coming in thick and fast, so here is the opinion of some men. Note the one with the most likes (okay yeah, only four), is the one where the victim is referred to as a slag. Classic victim shaming.

chedevans

This is still going on two hours after I searched. No doubt it will go on all day. Oh well. Time for me to make a point.

If you think you may have been a victim of rape, especially after reading my hypothetical night out and relationship scenario no matter how long ago it was there are people you can contact Rape Crisis being the best for immediate advice. If you are a survivor, just need a chat and want advice on a great range of issues regarding sexual violence, stalking and domestic abuse towards women, Aurora New Dawn is the place to go.

My heartfelt solidarity is towards the victim in all of this. We are all behind you, even if Ched is found not guilty. We never for a moment believed you had lied. You were right to contact the Police. It’s so much more than most people do and by that fact you have inspired other victims of sexual violence to come forward. All the best.

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Apathy? It’s gone, for good.

You’d think that when you go from being an armchair activist to an actual activist that you might feel a bit healthier, because you are technically being more physical and getting out and stuff. Nope. I drink pints of Guinness at meetings (because they are held in clubs/pubs and I have no willpower to avoid booze while away from my children), and the sheer amount of opposition I have become involved with is becoming detrimental to my stress levels and probably subsequently my blood pressure. It is making me stronger as a person though, so I guess there is that. I normally get back what I give on social media, and more. The opposition also seems to come from middle aged men. The women who get involved are normally men with fake Twitter or Facebook profiles.

Many political activists in my home town have fake social media accounts. Hell, I even have a fake Facebook profile which I use to check in groups I was banned from time to time, one being a mother and baby group where I posted a picture of a baby dressed as Hitler. That wasn’t even the thing that got me banned either. I also check to see if people have blocked my real account. Yes, yes, I shouldn’t care, but I do.

So as many of you may remember, last year was a bad time for politics in the UK. I mean bad simply because the Conservative Party gained a majority within parliament. That sucked. David Miliband bowed out from the Labour Party, and something unbelievable happened. Some MPs endorsed Jeremy Corbyn to run for leader of the Labour Party. If you don’t know who JC is, you can read here. Well, what happened next I dare say is a miracle. With much help coming from a £3 text message to show your support to the Labour Party and vote, Corbyn became leader and kick-started the huge shift to the left within the Labour  Party. As much as I loathe two party politics and our very out of date electoral system, I felt that Jeremy Corbyn represented what I stand for. So I went and did it, I joined Labour, which is only £1 for students for the year!

I’ve always identified with the far left of the political spectrum, but there has been times when I’ve been completely apathetic. For me, it very much comes in waves. This time seeing a Tory majority was stirring my inner fight but Corbyn’s election to leader of Labour actually made me feel my voice was not insignificant. I genuinely believe change is afoot. So after two months of membership, I took the first step and attended my first meeting, for my ward and others in the area. This had become more than calling Gideon and Dave a cunt and other assorted names on Twitter many moons ago, I was ready to help change the world* we live in.

*country. World next.