Dear Ched Evans:
It has been another week on social media of women being threatened with rape; another week of not being able to challenge the rape culture, of not being able to speak freely, without being verbally abused. Supposed Sheffield United (TW) fans continue to use vile words to undermine any woman who dares speak out against rape.
Two weeks ago, the father of your victim had to speak out because your video plea to be allowed to ‘get on with your life’ and play football, along with the continued harassment of his daughter via social media which led to requiring to take on yet another identity, is having a devastating emotional impact on her. He is frightened for her, worried that she won’t get through this.
But still your supporters come at her.
We know (how could we not) that you claim to be innocent, that you claim that your victim consented – although you certainly never asked her if she wanted to have sex, or of she wanted to be filmed, and she was certainly in no position to answer the question even if you had. Yet despite all your claims of innocence, you have stood silently by whilst your supporters have engaged in abusive, threatening behaviour, against your victim and a raft of women who have exercised their own right to free speech and dared to challenge such behaviour.
Even if you genuinely believe you are innocent, that is no longer the point: you have your family, a support group, solicitors, lawyers, private detectives and a future father-in-law bankrolling a campaign that has its own website.
What does your victim have? She had to be taken away from her family, her friends, her home town: she can no longer live under her own name: your campaign seems determined to grind her further down, perhaps in the hopes that she will break completely.
You want to get on with your life, you say, but you seem to want to do that at the expense of your victim. All that abuse, all that harassment from your fans: well, when you have such well oiled, well funded campaign machine, your silence about what your fans do makes you look like a bully – the worst kind of bully: the one that is behind the scenes getting other people to do his dirty work for him.
And every bully should be told to stop. Especially the ones pulling strings behind the scenes, especially the ones who stay silent whilst others do the bullying on his behalf.
In the context of what has – and is being done – to you victim, your pleas to be rehabilitated ring hollow; the site of your sorrowful face as you plead for another chance acts only to belittle the woman you raped and continue to victimise, through your campaign and your fans. Yes, a petition was launched against you: but what did you expect? That people would simply keep quiet in the face of all of that, and turn the other way whilst you continued on without a seeming care for any of that?
Whatever the outcome of your latest appeal, and whether or not Sheffield United decide to re-sign you: stop this. Remember that your sentence is not yet done.
If you are serious about rehabilitation, about making amends, about taking responsibility and earning another chance – close the website, or ask those who fund it and run it to do so. Tell your supporters and fans to leave the victim alone. Tell your fans to stop threatening women just because they don’t like what we say.
If you have any shred of decency in you: put an end to it, now.
Update 21/12/2014: Hartlepool United’s new manager – Ronnie Moore – has expressed interest in signing Ched Evans, thereby unleashing fresh headlines and speculation which will undoubtedly cause further pain to the woman Ched Evans raped. This is, simply, cruelty, justified by those who – like Moore – care only about the goals Evans might score, than any pain caused to his victim (and indeed, many rape victims who find these discussions, headlines and speculations immensely distressing).
So I posting this open letter again, and I would like to thank everyone who has shared this previously. Sometimes the only option is to stand up to the bully.