Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Ched Evans can and will be judged by people whether he or football journalists like it or not.

The Telegraph sports journalist Luke Edwards has dropped us his pearls of wisdom on Ched Evans today.

Here is the piece http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/11310292/Ched-Evans-must-be-allowed-to-play-football-and-society-answers-to-the-rule-of-law-not-the-mob.html

Sometimes when journalists offer their view on Evans in a supportive fashion I write a fairly lengthy piece about why I disagree. I won't here. Because, frankly, it's just not that impressive in its awfulness. It's just really repetitive. It sounds like a long version of the thousands of trolling SUFC fans I've encountered over the months.

The general tone is one I've seen expressed by lots of men in Football over the last few months. Summarised, the message from many of the chairmen, managers, journos is this "How dare you tell us what to do? We are not happy that the general public, particularly gobby women, are wading into our cosy, privileged, self-congratulatory life and telling us we are morally bankrupt and self-indulgent. We are quite happy doing just as we like thank you because.... well..... we are men! Proper men. We will look after our own. Ched is one of us. You lot aren't. You're just nasty to men like us. Oh lookit.... free bar!"

On Twitter earlier I said I didn't like the piece. Luke then accused me of calling him a rape apologist. I hadn't. So I can only assume that is what he was expecting? Why was he expecting that I wonder?

Actually the piece is flawed throughout and misses a hundred points by a thousand miles.

Some of the ones I found really lacking in awareness were these,

"However, the uncomfortable truth is that if they wanted to sign him, if they thought he could do a good job for them, they should have done it. They were perfectly entitled to."

Isn't it the case that clubs are dependent on their fans and should show them some respect? Some of them will be women. Some of them will be survivors of sexual violence. Some of the managers and board would do well to realise that people don't like rapists no matter what they can do with a ball. Those people might say so. Those people might not want to pay their money to watch that rapist. So actually - being "entitled" is really a matter not of what you can legally do but also what you can commercially and morally do. I think the latter is more important - but I think clubs like Hartlepool are considering the former. 

I write this from the view that Evans is a rapist. Or rather he was. 

Evans is still a rapist. Assuming he is told to fuck off with his appeal he will be a rapist for the rest of his life. He will remain forever on the sex offenders list. You haven't "unraped" a woman when you come out of jail. That thing still happened, unfortunately for the victim.

But society will not let Evans complete his rehabilitation. He is a free man still shackled by his crime. His fame as a professional footballer ensures that, unlike the thousands of other ex-cons who are working among us in this country, everybody knows what he did.
The emotive language here is interesting. "shackled" implies slavery. Have I not seen Evans in the news wandering around Alderley edge with his beautiful girlfriend and jumping in a rather nice expensive car? Society will very much let Evans complete his rehabilitation. Nothing that has been done prevents that. I really, really want him to work and hope he finds some. Somewhere safely away from young men whose attitudes he can influence around consensual sex, by displaying his repeated refusal to apologise for or acknowledge a crime he committed. He has the right to work. Let him get on with it. It does not have to be at a football club.

Evans is being punished over and over again. Because he played professional football, it is argued Evans cannot be allowed to resume his career because of the nature of the crime he committed. The ‘but he is a role model’ argument rides roughshod over the law of the land.
The lack of skilful argument here is embarrassing. Evans isn't being punished because he can't kick a ball just where he chooses without the public saying they aren't happy about it. People aren't happy when men rape women. People don't particularly like to see rapists. People aren't happy with rapists being given status and money. This isn't challenging the law. It is expressing a worthwhile moral view on the crime of sexual violence. If we don't strongly express this view then rape is not seen with the same contempt it really should be. 78000 rapes a year in the UK is too high. That is a lot of men raping a lot of women. The vast majority of them aren't caught or punished. 
There are even paedophiles, released from prison, working in a whole range of jobs up and down the country.
I really can't believe he went there. A child rapist has a job somewhere so Evans should be able to have just the job he likes too? What the fuck dude? What the actual? We cannot suspend our revulsion of the crime of rape because of "fairness" to all sexual offenders. There was no fairness when Evans shoved his penis inside a girl unable to give her consent. All of these crimes are abhorrent. None of them should entitle you to be in a position where you influence the views of others on that crime. There will be precious few child rapists in a job anywhere if their employer sees them spreading the view "She did want sex with me because look at her on this video on my website - if a child can carry a pizza that child is up for sex" and being allowed to continue stocking the shelves of their newly found employment I'm sure. 

He is hounded by a social and mainstream media lynch mob. 

Emotive language again. A body of people disgusted by rape and rapists and gathering together to express that view is about challenging a culture where rape is prolific and attitudes to it are damaging. It is not and never will be a group of people illegally wanting to hang someone. 
But of the hundreds who expressed their opposition, many more did not
160,000+ signed the petition I started. There was the opportunity offered by the Evans family to sign a counter petition but fewer did. 20,000 have signed a petition asking the FA and PFA to outlaw the return of any player convicted of sexual violence. Here it is 

Ched Evans committed an unforgivable act of sexual violence and the public are repeatedly telling him that. Public forgiveness is not the automatic right of someone released from prison. 
The rest of the piece just becomes a bit whiny. It is quite morally confused. It misses the point totally about the fact that people really want to challenge a culture where men do not understand what rape is. Men like Ched Evans. Rapists. Because Luke .... you may not be a rape apologist... and you are very keen to stress you are not..... but you are certainly very concerned that no one interferes with the running of the beautiful game. You can couch it in your concern for "the law" as much as you like but you are a football journalist and we can see you protecting a man within your "own" team. If only you were concerned about the fact that 78000 women are being raped a year. If only that was your thing and you wrote about it. 

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Dirty Ticket

I never write in rhyme. It seems a style for humour. But whilst away recently, it just made sense. Here's one about that awful trapped, helpless, feeling in an abusive relationship.

Dirty Ticket

Slapped square in the jaw with his reason,
He's cat-claw mean to fight
You strap on silk armour for battle
He shreds it each creeping night

The children are too dirty
Or too noisy
Or not his
You flip your mind and turn the stones
To see some sense in this.

Meanwhile take care
Don't slam a door
Or close it just too slow
You'll face fresh day 
With one or more 
Brain stain that just won't go 

Your bed too tiresome early?
When he's still unspoken needs?
Tomorrow with new strength to rise
He'll plant new festering seeds

HIs tumour deep inside you
Grows twisted, gnarled, unstable
The shoots eat all good flesh from bones
Your head drops to the table

Back he'll march to tell you hard
That table now needs cleaning
Your tears have made a mess of all
Self-pity leaves him steaming

This scrapes your neck of frightened hair
Puts hot fingers down your throat
As you wonder why you ever bought
A dirty ticket for this boat

But you can turn the table
You can mend the kids
You can slam the door on him
Leave his life on the skids

You'll have a bed somewhere someday
Where you sleep with both eyes shut
Build the roots inside yourself again
When his cancer has been cut

But take your time
Take friends
Take wine
Take any help that fits
And work your way to freedom
Tear that ticket into bits.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something to make you feel blue.

Many of you are at various points on your journey to be free of domestic abuse. I wish, for those of you that have just begun, that I could get a huge great one of these….

and come back and bring you further on. We could go to the seaside.

But I can't. Anymore than I can put my foot on the pedal and go faster myself.

It is a very long, slow process and you can tell yourself "I'm fine. I'm better. It's all in the past. Yaaaay. Bring me a shit load of champagne and a thousand lovers." It just doesn't work that way.

You have to feel it all sadly. You have to crawl through the pain on your fingertips and toes and keep looking forward. Keep your head off the floor. You have to keep texting and tweeting and calling your sorrow and angst and sadly sometimes anger at those who love you most. And you hope they forgive you. They mostly do. Some of them bring you flowers. Some of them bring you advice. Some of them bring advice you aren't ready for. My advice? Take it all. It is the stuff of real love.

What you don't need to take is the following….

1. The criticism of you by the man who hurt you. His viewpoint no longer matters. He lies. He has always lied.

2. His aggression, problems, domestic needs. They are his. You owe him nothing.

3.  Read numbers 1 & 2 again. Read them many times.

4.  Your abuser's old tactics. I can only speak myself as someone whose abuser is no longer living with me. Those of you who are still living with your abuser - take advice from a domestic abuse helpline. Your safety is the most important thing. Take no risks with it.

If they aren't living with you and they abuse you. Call the police. Any physical attack - however slight. Stalking. Name calling. Vile texts. Rumours. Harassment. Threats. Any abuse you recognise in any way ….. Call the cops. They need to hear this. They need to hear it matters. They have a duty to stop your abuse. Make them. Call them.

But this blog is really about the following. What might come after you've reclaimed your life from them.

This really. This is what happens.

and you already know that they are sneaky fuckers. You have learned to cope with the tactics they've had. What you may not be ready for is new ones.

They will get some. They are by their very nature experts at coming up with ways to hurt you. Surprise and ingenuity are weapons they will find. In the months after you've freed yourself of them they may really step up the game.

Your new friends, life, job, home. All targets for them.

Most simply for them, the thing they can get at you with so easily if you have them. Your children.

Don't kid yourself they won't. Don't convince yourself they always have your children's interests first. They don't. You know this from your time together. Their control overrides EVERYTHING else. They will use your children. Be prepared. Prepare the children. Tell them in the gentlest way possible that their relationship with Daddy is now separate from the one they have with you. Don't use "Don't tell him this ….….". My advice is give them a line they can live with. "I will not discuss your daddy with you. Please show me some respect for my privacy and don't discuss me with your daddy."

The abuser probably won't respect that. Remember what you've learned about them They have no respect for you or your feelings. They will hurt you any way they can. They will ask your children about you. Your child may tell them. They are children. The abuser is clever to them and with them. Arm them as best you can. Don't blame them if they fall for his tactics. You once did and you weren't a child. The only one to blame for terrible behaviour here is the abuser.

I learned this last week. However much they SAY they have moved on to and that they are beyond needing to control you. They haven't. They may believe it themselves. You don't have to.

They will find any number of different ways to tell you the same things they always told you. You aren't good enough. You are stupid. You are to blame for everything. You will never amount to anything without them. You have ruined their life. And all those other toxic things that apply individually to each of our abusive relationships.

My advice. Be ready for the new stuff. Wait for it. Anticipate there will be some. It can really take you by surprise if you are at a new place in your life where you are sensible and grounded and around sensible, grounded people. You begin to once again expect the same of everyone. Don't. He isn't everyone else. He is still the snake who poisoned your ear. His tongue is still forked. His hooves are still cloven. He's still a well-baked bastard.

Always see him for what he is. Never let him evolve in any one else's mind but his.

but one day you will be. And so will I.

As a friend said to me recently. You have escaped him - he never will.

Best wishes,

JH x

(N.B - I wrote this some months after leaving. I am now years free and happy and it did get easier. I even look back at this and shake my head a little at how little I knew when I wrote it. How much worse he would become. How difficult it would be. You will get there. Trust the women ahead of you down the path. They are still walking forwards.)

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Call 999. The Menz know stuff.

So. As part of the very tip of the tail end of an abusive relationship I need to log all incidences of abusive behaviour on the advice of my solicitor. None of you worry. I'm totally safe. It is just formalities.

This is purely for it's macabre entertainment value.

A couple of weeks ago there was an incident of quite horrible harassment that needed a call to the police. They sent 2 male officers at 11.30pm. This was not cool.

This time there was an incident of physical violence. I had no idea if it was "isolated" as I never know what he is going to do. A day and a half after they arranged to come out, they sent a single male officer of roughly the same height, build and appearance as my abuser. To my home. With all his scary officer stuff dangling from his huge frikkin man belt.

Not cool.

But, really really not cool were some of the wisdoms he had to impart. All I wanted was a notepad, me saying "this happened - write it down - log it - and be on your way." and for him to give me a crime reference number.

An hour and a half later I kicked him out after I could stand no more of his tedious man lessons. I choose for you some of my very favourite man knowledge that he had to impart.

Top 12 Officer Man Lessons On Domestic Violence And Abuse

1. What were you wearing? It could be important. 

Because? I caused the incidence with my choice of clothes? Or you are just a bit fucking interested? I was mostly wearing a look that said "fuck off". You nob.

2. Leopards don't change their spots you know!

Really? Dayum. It thought he was going to suddenly behave really calmly when he realised I had actually escaped his abuse. But no… here you are telling me that he is probably going to stay a shitty person. Mmmm. Who knew? Thanks for that piece of amateur psychotherapy. You nob.

3. Sometimes they like the control you know.

No. Always. They ALWAYS like the control. The clue is in the term "controlling abusive bully" which is the term I used to describe him. But hey…. you keep up. That's quite some training you've had there and are putting to such amazingly patronising use. You nob.

4. We've had new training and I have this set of things to ask you that they "make me ask" so bear with me *flicks through his pad* …..

Oh dear. Can you remember it all? Shall I help. What with me knowing it like…. for real? Nob.

5. It might be a good idea to avoid him. Though I'm sure sending him texts is ok if you get a bit angry….

Ah yes. Taunting an abusive man. That is a good piece of advice right there. I do like it so when you ad lib to your "training". That might not get many women killed or injured when they start texting how they really feel about the man who has ruined their life. Nob.

6. Medication might help. Are you on medication?

No. I am not. I don't need medication. I am here calmly in my kitchen telling you that I am going through the motions of a complaint because finally I am in control of my life. But thanks Dr Officer Man. What have you got? I'll take anything that works just like Sauvignon Blanc. Nob.

7. Have you ever been forced to have sex?

Have you ever been forced to talk about the sex you didn't want to have? Cos that is really quite bloody torturous to be fair. And when I say "coerced" you could at least attempt the face that would show you know what that means instead of this one….. nob.

8. They probably won't take your children away. They aren't keen on that much.

Yeah. Brilliant. Loving that you've reassured me on that. Since the abuser has no access to me or the house and I have been the one brave enough to make that a "thing" then no one actually has the right to take my children. I haven't done anything wrong. Nob.

9. You know you shouldn't be embarrassed. 

You should you limited arsehole. You really should. Nob.

10. Are your neighbours nice? Because we do have a duty to make sure their peace isn't disturbed but it might be awkward having a patrol car turn up.

Well. My neighbours are lovely. Except the potential rapist in the corner. He's a bit of a bother. But hey… why don't you go and ask them how they feel about a man potentially turning up to harm me and if they would rather I had a police car turn up outside or not and if it really is a bother for them I'll just keep quiet shall I? Nob.

11. Have you hear of Women's Aid?

Ooooh. No. Please tell me about that. Nob.

12. You want me to leave? But I haven't finished writing up my notes. Shall I do it in the car?

Yes. Yes. Please go away. Before I call the police to report a HUGE GREAT NOBHEAD IN MY KITCHEN!