Author: Amy Richardson

Equal Treatment For Equal Achievements?

Equal Treatment For Equal Achievements?

Next week, the Women’s Rugby World Cup starts in Dublin as the defending champions England face Spain. There has been little to no advertising for it in the UK compared to the male version of the competition despite the quality of women’s rugby constantly improving. […]

Amy Shares Her Favourite Summer Reads

Amy Shares Her Favourite Summer Reads

Summer is the season I always associate with having the time to settle into a good book or two. Most good tv has finished by the end of July and there’s nothing new on the horizon until September. There’s an abundance of long evenings to […]

Please Look After This Bear: A Tribute to Michael Bond

Please Look After This Bear: A Tribute to Michael Bond

I used to be a child who took great delight in habits. When I was ill, I watched The Aristocats; when mum and I had days out in Stratford, we always went to the ice cream boat for ‘square’ ice cream; and when some particular family friends came to stay, I was read a chapter of Paddington Bear book as my bedtime story. I loved S reading Paddington to me because he was so very good at the voices. When read by him, Mrs Bird became shrill and East End, Mr Brown was a bit daft, whilst Samuel Gruber sounded incredibly wise and learned. Although I often read the Paddington stories to myself, having them read to me was an experience I will always cherish.

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Twenty Years of Magic

Twenty Years of Magic

Twenty years ago today the first Harry Potter novel was released. I was four years old, at pre-school and blissfully unaware of it. At that age I could read, but only short simple sentences. I had a room full of books but most of them […]

How Do We Solve A Problem Like Theresa?

How Do We Solve A Problem Like Theresa?

‘In office but not in power’; so read the headline on the front page of the Sunday Telegraph yesterday, and it gives some sort of indication of the state of the United Kingdom’s leadership. On Thursday last week, the British public went to the polls […]

Wonder Woman: Finally a Superhero Movie Full of Hope

Wonder Woman: Finally a Superhero Movie Full of Hope

“Be careful in the world of men Diana; they do not deserve you.”

I’m not too proud to admit that I cried at this line. With the above words Hippolyta, Queen of Themyscira, (Connie Nielsen) sends her daughter Diana (Gal Gadot) off into the outside world to fight in a war that the Amazons have nothing to do with. But she knows that Diana will go no matter what, that she cannot stay now she has heard of the horrors. It’s the moment that Diana starts her journey from princess to superhero; it’s the beginning of becoming Wonder Woman.

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The Proust Questionnaire Vol. 5

The Proust Questionnaire Vol. 5

For the fifth instalment of our Proust Questionnaire series, Feminism and Women’s Issues Editor Amy answers the famous questions.      

A Day Spent in Shakespeare’s Hometown

A Day Spent in Shakespeare’s Hometown

I have a confession to make. I have lived my entire life (aside from when I’ve been at university) in Warwickshire, a mere 25 minutes or so away from Stratford-upon-Avon. Despite this, it has taken me until yesterday morning to set foot inside Shakespeare’s Birthplace. Or, […]

We Need to Stop Victim Blaming

We Need to Stop Victim Blaming

This piece comes with a trigger warning as it discusses rape and sexual assault.

 

Like many others, I was shocked to see a headline telling me that Ched Evans had decided he was the right person to advise women about how to avoid being raped. Or rather, if I’m being honest, I was enraged to see a man who was once convicted of rape tell women how to behave in order to avoid being raped. And that he thinks the police look for the easiest person to blame, as if rape cases are regularly reported, investigated fully and taken to trial. (Spoiler alert, they’re not).

I am not surprised Evans is a victim blamer – he was perfectly comfortable with allowing his legal team to use his victim’s sexual history against her as a way of getting his conviction overturned – but the fact that he thinks he has any advice to give is breathtaking in its audacity and arrogance. That he thinks that women should avoid getting too drunk because ‘genuine rapists’ are out there. Right.

His advice to men by the way is… oh wait, there’s none. Because only women get raped. Their attackers are also not the problem, clearly.

The fact that Evans felt able to say this and that the newspapers all reported on it only shows the prevalence of rape culture in British society. The level of victim blaming, how often the first question anyone who reports a rape is asked is about how much they drank, and the way in which rape victims often feel too ashamed to admit it’s even happened, let alone report it, are adding up to a toxic atmosphere around consent and sexual assault. Even the way in which the new ‘trend’ of stealthing, aka rape, has been reported is indicative of the way in which society views these matters. The debate as to whether it counts as assault is infuriating.

Just to be clear. Having sex without someone having given clear, full and continuous consent is rape. If someone changes their mind halfway through and you don’t stop, it’s rape. Forcing someone to engage in an act they don’t want to do is sexual assault. Removing protection of any form without informing your partner is, you guessed it, rape.

A drunk person cannot give full consent. Someone who is unconscious cannot give consent. Drinking, doing drugs, wearing revealing clothes and walking home alone do not mean you were asking for it. It does not mean you are not a victim. It shouldn’t mean that the police don’t take you seriously. Unfortunately, it often does. By speaking the way he has, Ched Evans has reinforced these terrible stereotypes and it is unforgivable. It makes me furious that he is going to play for Sheffield United again for a ridiculous amount of money. He doesn’t deserve it.

To any survivors of sexual assault who might be reading this – you are not to blame. The Eight send you love and support and although we are not counsellors or therapists, if you need to talk, please do email one of us.

Alternatively contact these organisations:

 

UK

Rape Crisis, www.rapecrisis.org.uk, 08088029999

US

RAINN, www.rainn.org, 8006564673

 

 


Image courtesy of The Sun, it can be found here

 

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As nice as it is to read about characters and places I recognise, it is novels that detail societies and landscapes completely different to mine which I find the most fascinating. The work of Marilynne Robinson is so much about location that it simply would […]