This isn’t a post to get into the whys and wherefores of the Ched Evans retrial, or the subsequent acquittal and not guilty verdict.

(for anyone not familiar, or not in the UK, Evans is a footballer who was accused of, and jailed for, raping a drunk teenager in a hotel room. He has been in prison since, but appealed and has now been found not guilty)

If you want to read more about the background to the retrial, the Guardian does a pretty good job of outlining some of the very questionable methods used in the “justice” system.

But this post is about something different. I just want to put this out there as an example of everyday sexism, vileness and male entitlement that exists on social media.

I shared this tweet following the not guilty verdict. I stand by it.

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My tweet was picked up by a complete stranger, who wanted to get into conversation.

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He’s entitled to his opinion, as I am to mine.

What he isn’t entitled to is to say things like this:

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I appreciate that social media – especially Twitter – is a platform for people to express their opinion. I respect that. I don’t think everyone should agree with me, and discussion and debate is healthy.

What isn’t healthy is the growing trend for strangers to be rude, aggressive and threatening to people because their opinions differ. This isn’t an “I think you’re wrong and here’s why” response. This is an “I’m trying to intimidate you and threaten you and make you feel like rubbish” response.

Why? What possible enjoyment can this lowlife have got from being an obnoxious, vile, ignorant person?

Not content with that, he expanded his hatred further:

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Now, if not wanting to be raped makes me a feminist then yep, guilty as charged. That would also make every woman on the planet a feminist.

And why is that such a bad thing? Why is it used as a dirty word to insult women who care about themselves, each other, and women’s issues?

I love social media, with a passion. I think it’s amazing for connecting people – friends and strangers alike. But I also believe it’s contributing massively to a decline in society, attitudes and morals. There is no excuse for belittling sexual abuse or sexual abuse victims, or using rape as a threat or, more disturbingly as is the case here, a measure of attractiveness. Bonehead is trying to tell me I’m not attractive enough to be raped. Well, thank fuck for that, eh?

It’s alarming that people feel suitably empowered to say such disgusting things without fear of recrimination. That they’re willing to put their face to a level of vitriol they would probably never say in a face to face conversation.

And it’s alarming that the social media generation will grow up seeing such behaviour and believing it’s acceptable.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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