All this talk in the papers this week regarding Ched Evans and whether he should be allowed to play professional football again after his rape conviction leaves me in a quandary.
It’s difficult. On one hand I think we should believe in rehabilitation, second chances and forgiveness, I wouldn’t be doing the things I do today if that wasn’t the case, however as someone close to me was raped I find it difficult to think objectively about it.
If, as the evidence appears to be no date rape drugs involved then perhaps it was a case of her getting drunk and blacking out. I’ve woken up myself with no memory of the night before, but speaking to friends I was with I definitely knew what I wanted when I was drunk, so I find it difficult to understand how he was convicted in the first place, as it is difficult to say when someone is too drunk to consent. Unless there is going to be a drink sex breathalyser test and accompanying limit brought out soon that is.
If, on the other hand drugs were used and were just out of her system by the time they tested, which, I hasten to add is often the case, he should still be in prison.
At the end of the day, I find it difficult to believe in rehabilitation and forgiveness if we are only going to believe that “righteous” people can be forgiven and or rehabilitated. This leaves us way too open to judge people by different standards depending on our own personal life experiences. Nelson Mandela, for example was forgiven for arguably worse crimes than this, but because he was perceived to have committed them for the greater good, they were acceptable, forgiven?
I’d like to see what treatment this sex offender got in prison, did he attend a rehabilitation programme? What did his probation reports say about his engagement in the programmes? What do they feel is his risk of reoffending? I’ve not seen any of this reported.
All in all I have mixed feelings about it. At least if he plays football and gets paid for it it will keep him off benefits, also perhaps he is less likely to reoffend given that everyone knows him and his reputation.
Is it right that he earns considerably more than the average person? No, but mainly because I find it ridiculous that people who put their lives at risk daily to help others earn less in a month than any sports player does in a day.
If he wants to go out onto a football field in front of 20,000 fans jeering him, perhaps we should let him.