The Ched Evans affair illustrates our rape law’s idiocy.

ched evansNo one has had a rational come back in my campaign to eliminate the law of rape…
plenty of casual irate dismissals, ironically illustrating my point rather well, but no rational argument against it.

Ched Evans is a convicted rapist – the circumstances of his offence make it very clear to me that there is a massive educational job at hand, teaching young men what is abuse and what is not, and why forms of abuse require graded punishment to fit the crime. His encouraged attempts to move smoothly back into his highly paid, high profile, role are achieving the opposite of this necessary education.

He (among many others) clearly fails to understand the meaning of “consent” Both his supporters and critics fail to understand the reason the law fails all of us and encourages bad misogynistic attitudes.
As it stands, the law of rape is irrational and an emotive trigger that prevents rational discussion on the better, more 21st century, approach to what the law should be.

In my campaigns to change this law to favour justice for victims over defence counsel odds of success, few have realised that rape is a law about damaging (male) property – akin to theft, and in other cultures it is more explicitly the “theft of the father’s honour”.

The key points:

Rape, in law, has to be committed with a penis. (a broken bottle, fist or dildo of any sort cannot form part of the crime of rape)
Rape is a part of the burglary law. (In that entering a property with intent to rape is as much burglary as entering with intent to steal)

This ancient property based law of rape has become such a farce that it has the net effect of further shaming, humiliating and destroying any victim, who, as the only witness in most cases, is now subject to self-defending attackers being allowed to destroy their fragile integrity in a court room.
Is it at all surprising that 90% of victims would never consider pressing charges?
The fairly recent introduction of equality of men as potential rape victims has further muddied the waters rather than created a better law. The weapon of domination having to be a penis is a matter still not addressed. It is ridiculous that an anal assault with a bottle is not classifiable as a similarly heavy duty attack when you take on board the effect upon a victim.
But of course the criminal justice system is concerned with crimes against the state, what happens to the victim has very little place in deciding the nature of the law.

Ched Evans “fans” have managed to terrorise the victim in his case, forcing her to move and change her name to avoid their illegal – but most likely unprosecutable – harassment of her. The lad/gang culture is part of the problem here but it lies much deeper in cultural misogyny as well.

His compulsory rehabilitation (he is out under licence) should include repeated abject apologies for his crime, and working with women and other young men to radically alter their attitudes to women – which will take at least 5 more years. This should continue until everyone who saw themselves as a fan is humbled into understanding what the horror of sexual assault means.

When we have a law that does not include “rape”, but instead has “sexual assault with exacerbating factors”: – degrees of degradation, abuse and violence being the triggers that extend a jail sentence, then perhaps we can begin to get some successful prosecutions. We might also see a welcome reduction in the stigma victims suffer, and better education programmes. The current lack of emotional intelligence that dominates chauvinistic culture inevitably scuppers justice when the concept of rape is on the table.

Ched Evans was found guilty – of a law that shows the guilt of a patriarchal society unable to conceive of what a victim of assault suffers.

 

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