#IBelieveHer: Supporting the Innocent Victim of Ched Evans

I have already blogged about the Ched Evans rape case where he was found guilty of raping a 19 year old. The hate campaign which has followed his victim around Twitter and Facebook is both horrifying and the best evidence I’ve seen for believing we live in a rape culture. Amanda Bancroft wrote about the reaction of Twitter to the case in the Guardian last week and Julie Bindel wrote about misogyny in football this week. The shitstorm which followed Evans conviction for rape is utterly soul-destroying and my heart breaks for his victim who is being tortured by misogynists and their handmaidens. The Feminist backlash to this asshattery has been a pleasure to read.

The lovely BasilFoulEggs started a thread to get Mumsnet to support Evan’s victim as part of their We Believe You campaign.:

Dear MumsnetAs you are no doubt aware, there has been the most extraordinary hate campaign waged this week by some football fans, against a rape victim in the wake of the Ched Evans Guilty Verdict.

The jist of the hatespeak, has been that a drunk woman has no right to expect the basic human right of not having her body penetrated without her active participation in that sexual act, or even her passive consent. Presumably because men (or at least footballers and their friends) have the right to penetrate women who are incapable of consent. And that if a man rapes you, it is because you are a slut, a slag and all the other hate-speak words used to de-humanise women and make it easier for people not to empathise with us when we are abused.

This week has seen the really ugly spectacle, of a bunch of men asserting their right to rape women, handmaidens supporting that right and both of them sending out a clear warning to all other rape victims, to know what to expect if they dare to pursue justice if they are raped.

If there had been a similar outpouring of hatred against any other historically oppressed group, the rest of the media would have been tearing their hair out analysing why some men hated this group so much, where the hatred came from, why it existed, what could be done about it; but ironically apart from the Daily Fail, there has been very little comment in response to the Twitter hate-campaign. If Twitter had buzzed with indignation at the jailing of the man who posted hate-speak about Fabrice Muamba, I’ve no doubt that the FA would have tracked down the posters and banned them from football matches. Because they’re busy kicking racism out of football. Sexism, though, is fine. They can give a bloody award to a convicted rapist, while their supporters conduct what must be a terrifying hate campaign against his teenage victim– right now, football fans don’t look all that much better than the Taliban, do they?

Mumsnet, will you use the voice you have against this horrible hate campaign? Will you tell the woman that Ched Evans raped, that We Believe Her? Will you ask the FA to state publicly, that they too, believe her and that in future, they will work as hard to kick sexism out of football, as they do to kick racism out?
Thank You.

The thread is close to 400 posts strong and has spawned the Twitter hashtag #IBelieveYou. Many are using the #WeBelieveYou hashtag which arose out of the MN We Believe You campaign.

My dear friend Frothy Dragon posted this statement on the “Justice for Ched” FB group which was immediately deleted:

People who have consumed alcohol may reach such a level of drunkenness that they no longer have the capacity to give consent. The courts recognise that this stage may be reached well before they become unconscious.” Section 2.6 of the Crown Prosecution Service guide to prosecuting rape. CCTV evidence and witness statements corroborate that Ched’s victim was in such a state. I believe her.
What you are doing to an innocent woman is nothing short of a witch-hunt. 6 in every 1000 rapes ends up in a conviction for rape. You really think it’s that easy to lie about rape, get it to court (something that relies on sufficient evidence) and get a conviction?

It’s worth noting that your hate campaign against the victim will do nothing to help other rape victims. We already have a report rate for rapes of 10%. 90% of rapes go unreported. Do you really wish to drive that number up? Should victims just not report?

Every rapist is someone’s son, brother, uncle; whatever other words you’re throwing around Twitter this week under the vile # tag. No one wants to believe that someone they love and care about is guilty of rape. But he was found guilty for good reason. To Ched’s victim: I believe you.

Let’s drown out the voices of the rape apologists by tweeting our support for victims of rape using the #IBelieveHer and #WeBelieveYou hashtags and joining the I Believe Her FB group.

There is a petition here to have the Professional Footballers Association Drop Ched Evans from the League One Team of the Year Honours List.

UPDATE: Article in the Telegraph on the Campaign!

 

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