When I was about 23, I met a guy called Wesley in a nightclub. We chatted for a while and he invited me back to his. He was texting someone on the way home, but I was drunk and thought nothing of it.
So we get back to his, fool around a bit and then start having sex. I look up at a certain point and I see someone walk into the room. It’s a man, he’s naked, and he’s clearly prepared to join in.
As the anger courses through me I sober up, get off the guy, grab my clothes, and run out of the room, out of the flat, and call a taxi.
I wake up in my own bed, with a vivid memory of what happened, grateful that I got out of it. In years to come, that night becomes a funny story. Until it’s not anymore. Maybe I decided that the story didn’t show me in a good light.
I hadn’t thought about that night in years. Not until I read the sickening details of the Ched Evans case. It bears a striking similarity. Man meets drunk woman. Texts his friend. Is having sex with girl. Friend arrives.
That’s where the similarity ends, because in the case of this poor girl, she isn’t sober enough to realise what’s going on. She isn’t sober enough to think, hang on a minute. I agreed to have sex with this guy. What the hell is this other guy doing here? She isn’t sober enough to consent, and reading the court report, she isn’t sober enough to know that a guy has just walked into the room and within moments is having sex with her.
That this girl was taken advantage of, and horribly, by the first footballer she was unfortunate enough to encounter that night is without question. That she was raped by the second has been proved beyond reasonable doubt in front of a jury.
So why are people claiming that he is innocent? Why did Stuart Gilhooly, a solicitor for the PFAI (Professional Footballers Association of Ireland) write a blogpost published on the PFAI website in which he repeatedly referred to the crime as ‘alleged’ Why did he say that ‘If having sex with a drunk woman is rape then thousands of men are guilty of rape every day.’? *
I’d like to explain to Stuart Gilhooly the difference between drunken consensual sex, and the rape of a drunk woman. That time that I went back to Wesley’s flat wasn’t the only time a man wanted to have sex with me when I didn’t want him to, and I didn’t always get away.
I was so drunk in the back of my friend Rob’s car aged 17, that when my friend Hanna’s 14 year old boyfriend started kissing me, then put his hand down my pants, and forced my mouth onto his penis, I was literally unable to stop him.
I was unable to consent to what he was doing. His fingers penetrated my vagina. He forced me to give him oral sex. That’s rape. But I don’t think that Charlie walks around these days calling himself a rapist. His girlfriend didn’t call him that then either, she just called me a slag instead.
The girl that went back to that hotel room with Clayton McDonald that night is not a slag, as she has been called on social media. She’s a girl who made a choice, albeit a drunken one, to have sex with a guy she met at the end of a night out. By the time Ched Evans got to that hotel room, she was not capable of making that decision. That has been proven beyond reasonable doubt.
That’s not the same as two drunk people consenting to sleep with each other. Shame on the PFAI for posting a blog on their website which equated the two.
I believe Ched Evans. I believe that he doesn’t think that he raped that girl. I believe he thinks having sex with a girl who is drunk to the point of neither being able to see nor hear him, is not rape.
But that doesn’t mean that he didn’t rape her. He did.
It is a horrifying illustration of the culture in which we live that he is being defended by so many commentators.
It is a horrifying illustration of the culture in which we live that his girlfriend has chosen to stand by him through his prison sentence and since.
It is a horrifying illustration of the culture in which we live that a major UK football team would consider giving him his job back after he has been convicted of a sex crime.
It is a horrifying illustration of the culture in which we live that a man can do something like that, and go through police questioning, and a court case, and a prison sentence and believe that what he did is not rape.
It is a horrifying illustration of the culture in which we live that so many people agree with him.
*The blogpost has since been removed from the PFAI website, but at the time of writing no apology has been made by either Stuart Gilhooly or the PFAI