ANTI-RAPE campaigners see some propaganda advantage in petitioning against a return to professional football for Ched Evans. But what is the message of the Evans case and if, as I argue, it is an anti-rape one then his remaining in the public eye by resuming his career is surely all to the good.
It would be extremely naïve for anyone to take the point that “Ched is back on the pitch so an accusation of rape can’t be anything to worry about”. The features of his case which are particularly relevant as matters of public information include the length of prison sentence he has served and the manner of his conviction. As campaigners are keen to remind us, rates of reporting, prosecution and conviction for rape are low.
The court held that Evans’ victim was not capable of consenting to sex. Many will have seen a widely circulated video in which she appears shortly before this to have been functioning quite normally. We would like young men to take the issue of consent more seriously. Evans is a walking reminder to them of what interpretation a jury may place upon events and the law and of the need therefore to exercise consideration and caution. It will be all the more effective if he is also a running and playing reminder.