Trigger warning: This post discusses rape, rape apologism and quotes some utterly hideous examples of rape apologism.
A footballer named Ched Evans has been convicted of raping a young woman who was too drunk to give consent. What has followed is, of course, the foul chorus of rape apologism which ignites in an ugly crescendo every single fucking time. Each time this happens, the same set of tropes are trotted out as a means for somehow excusing the crime.
This is the first port of call for the rape apologist, and the prop on which all rape apologism ultimately rests. Here, rape apologists will do whatever they can to imply that the survivor somehow deserved what happened to them. Maybe they were too drunk, or wearing the wrong length of skirt. Whatever it is, apparently their actions somehow imply consent, as tweeter and repulsive shitstain @JosephWestley suggests:
In a Premier Inn with 2 footballers after a night out. Expecting tiddlywinks? And ruin a poor blokes life?!
Here, it is implied that being in a hotel room with some men is exactly the same as consent. Which it definitely isn’t.
“It wasn’t really rape”
With the survivor sufficiently blamed, it is time to move into suggesting that whatever happened, it definitely wasn’t rape. Sometimes, this can come from a risibly faux-naif pretence of not understanding the difference between non-consensual sex and rape, such as this from @jonnypotter:
Curious to find out more about the
#chedevans rape conviction. Not premeditated but locked away for 5 years for lack of consent
Now, I’m sure most of us can explain to Jonny that lack of consent is rape, and that’s how he got convicted of rape for raping someone.
As the Ched Evans case involved a woman who had drunk too much alcohol (and, is, therefore, entirely responsible for everything that happens to her), this is also seen as “definitely not rape” in the eyes of rape apologists. They consider it ludicrous to suggest that alcohol could possibly impede consent, as @IchWillNichts, who probably thinks he’s very funny, tweets:
Cops are busy tomorrow: hungover women who can’t remember how they got home will claim kidnapping against their taxi drivers.
Yes, Anthony. When drunk, the worst thing that can ever happen to you is a bit of confusion and regret.
Finally, there’s the distinction between “rape-rape” and not-actually-rape-due-to-lack-of-stranger-in-a-balaclava-leaping-out-of-a-bush. This can come in many guises, always with a hearty dash of misogyny. Sometimes, it can run concurrently with threats of violence against women, as evidenced by this thoroughly charming tweet from @BenWhitehorne:
I hope that silly tamp gets properly raped one day
I literally have no words for someone who thinks that one rape is not enough, and wants to see the job done in a way which better fits his construction of rape.
Perhaps simply blaming the survivor isn’t enough, as those awful politically correct bra-burners are making some headway in pointing out that victim blaming simply doesn’t fly in 2012. The rape apologists therefore scramble all over themselves to make out that the survivor is an evil person with evil, evil ulterior motives. The most egregious example of this comes from a team-mate of the convicted rapist, who declared that the whole thing must be due to the survivor being a “money-grabbing little tramp“. In a two-for-one special, he also offers us a hefty dose of victim-blaming and a truckload of overt misogyny:
“If ur a slag ur a slag don’t try get money from being a slag (sic) … Stupid girls… I feel sick.”
The rape apologists have ran with this rather peculiar suggestion that somehow the woman got raped for money, despite none being able to offer any sort of coherent explanation as to how rape could possibly be lucrative.
Without a leg to stand on in this respect, the rape apologists decided nonetheless to name the survivor and set up a fake twitter account where “the survivor” boasted of getting lots of money and going on a lovely holiday.
Naming the survivor is a disgusting tactic. They may claim that it’s because it’s somehow unfair that rapists get named publicly while the survivors do not, but ultimately it is down to one thing: revenge. Because they believe it is all the survivor’s fault, they believe that somehow their football-playing hero is completely innocent and it’s time for some vigilante justice. They cast themselves as heroes, crusaders for truth, rather than the nasty little abject turds that they are.
The conspiracy theory
For some rape apologists, the outright misogyny is somewhat unpalatable, and so they take a different tack by theorising about some sort of stitch-up. In the Ched Evans case, they have fixated upon the fact that only one of the two accused footballers was convicted. Somehow, believing themselves to know more than the jury who heard all the evidence, they believe that some sort of miscarriage of justice has occurred, as suggested by Stuart Marshall:
Well,it’s a right hornets nest this one….I’ve been careful not to stigmatise the young lady in question but merely ask the question about how one guy walks,the other gets 5 ???? As for fb etc etc comments…well,I give up.THE JUDGE SAID SHE WASN’T “FIT” TO GRANT SEXUAL CONSENT.So,she’s sober one minute and it’s ok…..but then for his mate it’s not ok ? Get a life.
Often, they use the “I’m just asking these very reasonable questions” approach, though sometimes they will throw in a bit of victim blaming on top of it, like @Thomaskingsley:
To drunk to consent to
#ChedEvans yet perfectly able to let Clayton McDonald smash you? Id like to see how the courts came to that decision?
Apparently, possible consent with one man is definite consent with all men.
These tropes of rape apologism happen every time. In the Roman Polanski case, the biggest focus was on how it definitely wasn’t rape, while with the Julian Assange case, all of the above applies in sickening great dollops.
And it’s not all right. None of it is. Looking at these comments, we see rape culture laid bare, all of its feeble excuses and nasty tricks converging simply because a woman had the gall to be raped by someone popular.