Rape culture in 140 characters
For some it seems, there is a difference between rape, and you know, rape rape.
If the latest debacle involving a UK sports ‘hero’ found guilty of rape can tell us anything, it’s that rape is when a slutty, drunk chick totally has it coming. This kind of rape shouldn’t be taken seriously because, well, she’s drunk and the guy was just having a bit of fun.
Rape rape though is when a sober woman dressed head-to-toe in white is viciously attacked while leaving church by a man with a thick moustache and twitching eye. This man is clearly a rapist, and this woman is clearly innocent (not like that slutty chick, am I right?).
Wales and Sheffield United professional footballer, Ched Evans, was sentenced to five years in jail after being found guilty of rape. The basic premise is that last year in May, a young intoxicated woman went back to a hotel room with Evans’ teammate, Clayton McDonald. She and McDonald had intercourse, and soon after Evans arrived and McDonald left.
This is when Evans is said to have had intercourse with the young woman, while two friends had the audacity to film it through a window.
The victim claimed to have no memory of the night, and with the assistance of CCTV footage showing just how intoxicated she was before the incident, the jury found that the 19-year-old was in no state to be able to consent to sexual intercourse. McDonald was acquitted and Ched was found guilty.
However, sometimes the law is not enough to quench the thirst of a troll; because although the jury found the 19-year-old’s accusation to be legitimate, she is now facing trial by Twitter.
It started with Evans’ teammate, Connor Brown, posting a series of vicious tweets on the micro blogging site. He called her a “money-grabbing little tramp,” and eloquently added, ““If ur a slag ur a slag don’t try get money from being a slag (sic) … Stupid girls… I feel sick.”
This was just the beginning. London Feminist, in a post titled ‘Rape Culture in up to 140 characters’, kept track of the #chedevans Twitter trend and found that a disturbing number people don’t seem to understand exactly what rape is.
Here are just a few.
“Curious to find out more about the #chedevans rape conviction. Not premeditated but locked away for 5 years for lack of consent.”
“Read up on the laws as well now! I change my mind! Seems that it is rape after all! #chedevans”
“Baffled by the #ChedEvans case. You convict both men or neither! How can there be any evidence if the silly bitch can’t remember anything?”
“If nailing a tramp who is too wankered to say no is a crime….. then the old bill need to get down to mine with a set of cuffs. #ChedEvans”
But here’s the thing: rape is non-consensual sex, and a woman being drunk does not and should not exempt rapists from the law. We could question how one man was sentenced to jail and how the other wasn’t, but Senior Crown Prosecutor in Wales, Nita Dowell, lays out the facts.
“Ched Evans took advantage of a vulnerable young woman who was in no fit state to consent to sexual activity. It is a myth that being vulnerable through alcohol consumption means that a victim is somehow responsible for being raped. The law is clear: being vulnerable through drink or drugs does not imply consent.”
Well said. Now if someone could just pass that on to the Twitter trolls.
Jane Hollier is completing a Media degree at Charles Sturt University.