Rape Culture

blog, ched evans, nanowrimo, rape culture

I have been putting off writing about one particular subject over the past few weeks. Rape culture. When I first started this blog, I wrote a post talking about the sexual abuse and manipulation that was going on within YouTube, which is unfortunately still an ongoing issue within the community. However, despite the new allegations that were made this week I am not going to be talking about YouTube in this post. Today I would like to talk about Ched Evans. There is so much that I would like to say about this horrible situation, however I shall try to be concise. It has come to a point where I feel that this issue needs to be addressed on my blog.

Since his release from jail, the main question surrounding the case is, will Evans be returning to Sheffield United? As some of you will know, yesterday they made the decision to allow him to practice with the team again. I truly believe that this is the next step to allowing him back onto the team for good. This cannot happen.

According to his sentence, Ched Evans is a rapist. In the eyes of the law, he is a sex offender. Despite his continuous pleas of “not guilty”, until it is otherwise proven, he is a sex offender. The ‘facts’ are that he had sex with a 19 year old woman who was too drunk give consent. Evans believes that the sex was consensual. A woman (or a man) cannot give consent when they are drunk, and “R” (as the victim is referred to) was drunk.

For those of you who don’t believe that she was really drunk…she had drunk before leaving her house, and again at a bar. She had drunk so much that she didn’t remember much after leaving the bar. She didn’t remember having sex with either Evans or McDonald – they both confirmed that she did have sex with them. CCTV footage showed her stumbling around, leaving her handbag in a kebab shop and being escorted to the hotel by McDonald in a dishevelled state. There is no doubt that she was far too drunk to consent. McDonald even sent a text to Evans, which read something along the lines of, “I’ve got a bird”.

McDonald has been cleared of rape, so I am not going to talk about him. However, Evans was convicted, and this is where I have the problem. How can a football club take back an ex-player who has been jailed for raping a woman? How can they think that this is acceptable? Their actions trivialise sexual violence against women and they’re basically taking a massive step backwards. We live in a world where rape is a part of our culture. There is catcalling in the streets, people are harassed on a daily basis at work and in schools and universities, people get raped and their attackers get away with it.

Another aspect of this case that has really upset me is the way that Evans’ family has handled the situation. Of course they will want to support him in any way they can – he is going through a rough time right now (even if he did bring it on himself…) However, releasing footage of R and also exposing her identity is unacceptable. Rape victims have the right to anonymity. They took that right away from her when they released her name and when they posted video footage of her on their website. If they truly want to try to clear Evans’ name, they are going about it the wrong way.

Yet another big issue that I have had with this case is the victim blaming that has occurred. She is the victim. Whether Evans’ fans and family want to believe that or not is their prerogative, however they should keep their toxic opinions to themselves and never blame the victim. Whether they like it or not, according to the law he is the culprit. I know I’ve said it before, but he is – legally – the one in the wrong. People ask why women (and men) don’t come forward about sexual assaults. This is why. The reaction that they get from the public is why. Not only are they forced to re-live their assault when going through the court process, but they are also rarely believed and the attacker is rarely arrested. The victim is treated like the perpetrator and the rapist is treated like the victim.

I think that this case has a lot to say for football culture too. A few weeks ago I was doing a bit of research on women in sport and how they are portrayed. I put together this little photo…

football

Now what differences do you see between the two different Google searches? I won’t treat you like children, it’s clear; the articles on the left focus on the men’s skills. The articles on the right focus on the women’s sexual appeal. The women’s ability to please the male species’ eyes. The objectification of women. These five articles are the first to come up on Google when typing in “Male Footballers” and “Female Footballers”, respectively.

(Here is a link to the original post where I explain the contents of each link in more detail)

This is not okay. The football community view women as objects, as pretty things to look at. They are rarely judged on their actual abilities and skills. Did you know a female journalist was almost fired because she was “too attractive” and was “distracting the footballers”. By letting Evans off, by allowing him back on the squad, they are making the statement that rape is a forgivable offence. They are putting him back in the limelight, as someone for young aspiring footballers to look up to, as someone for 11 year olds to cheer when he scores a goal. They are reinforcing the idea that women do not matter, that they are only good for their bodies, or what they can give to a man, and that the men will be forgiven if they rape someone. It is normalising rape which cannot be allowed.

Evans even said in his video message that being able to play professional football is a “rare privilege”. It’s a privilege, not a right. When you do something so badly wrong, you have to face the consequences. When you rape someone, you can’t go back to your normal life as if nothing ever happened. When you do something wrong, your privileges are taken away. For good.

I think I am going to end this one here. The post is getting long, and I feel that I have probably repeated myself more than once! I would never normally “ask for comments” or whatever, but I feel like this is something that needs to be discussed, so I encourage you to talk about this is the comments below. I hope that this makes sense.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll speak to you again tomorrow.

…and the plot thickens!

Feminism, Sam Pepper, Scandal, sexism, Sexual Harassment, VeeOneEye, YouTube

Good evening, bloggers!

Goodness me…I wasn’t going to blog today. Have a day off – Sunday’s a day of rest, right? But nope. I’ve just got in, thought I’d check my Facebook/Twitter etc. before I went to sleep, and what do I see?

“Sam Pepper forced a fan to give him oral sex before a show!”

Looks like we’re having another Sam Pepper update…I cannot wait for the day that I no longer have to blog about this boy!

The Daily Mail (such a reliable source..!) has reported that Sam Pepper has been accused of forcing an 18 year old fan to perform oral sex on him, before they went to one of his shows in Toronto. He had invited the girl to his hotel room before the show, and then forced himself upon her despite her protests. The article also mentions that Pepper had attempted to attain nude photos of a 15 year old fan; 19 year old Bryony Harris has posted screen shots on Twitter of a Facebook conversation that she claims was between herself and Pepper from four years ago. I saw the tweet, however it would seem that it has since been removed.

Another fan has also released screen shots of a not-so-innocent conversation between Pepper and herself when she was 16:

Byn3UYRIQAAkQcS Byn3UndIAAEu6Uh Byn3UrcIEAAwYOq Byn3UWKIMAAEjDC

It appears that parts of the conversation are missing in the above screen shots, however again Pepper has taken advantage of a fan’s ‘love’ for him. Aimee will have been far more pliable, I guess. She will have been far more willing to send him “nudes” because he is famous, and he had chosen her to lavish his attentions on. It is a form of grooming, and it is not acceptable.

Alongside Pepper, YouTuber Jason Viohni (VeeOneEye on YouTube) has been accused of assault/harassment. I will attach more screen shots of a 15 year old fan’s account:

jason 1 jason 2 jason 3 jason snapchat

Furthermore, two Tumblr blogs have been created, with accounts of Viohni’s uncomfortable behaviour. Here is one, and again – I will post screen shots of another.

jason 6 jason 7

Finally, when it comes to Viohni (I hope!) Dave Giles tweeted about him;

dave giles knows about jason

We could go and tell these girls now that they were stupid to have put themselves into these situations. We could go and tell them that they should have known better. But that is victim blaming – we wouldn’t be addressing the actual problem. What we need to be doing is raising awareness and teaching the younger generations to be wary of these so called ‘celebrities’. Remind them that what they see on screen is not a reflection of the person’s true self. It is a persona. The YouTuber is showing us the parts of their lives that they want us to see. The impressive parts, the parts that they are proud of.

There are still so many young girls and boys, defending these men. They are clearly loyal fans, however when it comes to situations such as this, they need to know that supporting the perpetrator allows them to get away with their crimes. This isn’t a case of loyalty anymore.

You’ll probably know that this isn’t the first YouTube “sex scandal” that we’ve had – even just in 2014! Unfortunately, I doubt it’ll be our last. I am just hoping that the community can learn from these experiences. That we will know when to cut someone off; to shut them out completely. It is wonderful to hear the louder voices of YouTube speak out against the culprits. I know that Hank Green has banned Pepper from VidCon, and Peppers management have dropped him. The fact that the more ‘powerful’ members of the community are refusing to tolerate this kind of behaviour is such a relief.

I have heard rumours that Pepper has been arrested, however until I hear it from a more reliable reliable source, i.e. not Twitter, I’m not going to confirm it.

Let’s hope that my next blog can be a bit more uplifting, and goodnight!

P.S. – I hope this post is coherent! I didn’t get in until late, and it is now 11:45pm – I have to be up for 6:30! …I trust you’ll get the gist of what I am saying at least! 😉

Sam Pepper – Part 2

Feminism, sexism, Sexual Harassment, YouTube

Good day bloggers!

So, continuing on from yesterday’s theme of Sam Pepper…as I mentioned, Sam has now been accused of rape and of sexual assault by at least two individuals. It is possible that this blog is going to contain triggering content, so if you believe you will be affected in any way, feel free to turn away now. I will try and warn you when we are approaching more explicit moments.

Dottie Martin – another YouTube star – was the first to come forwards with allegations against Sam. She posted a video titled “A Cautionary Tale”, in which she explained how Sam Pepper had pursued her, after meeting her at a meet and greet. Now, this would have been absolutely fine – boys are allowed to pursue relationships, that isn’t the problem. The problem is a: the age gap and b: the way in which he ended up handling the date. She was 16 and he was 23. She was barely legal, and he was a 23 year old man who no doubt had higher expectations for their little date, than she was willing to meet. If you want to hear more about this date that Dottie and Sam went on, please do click the video link; Dottie explains it very clearly, and I’m not going to rip off her video on my blog.

The second individual who has come forward, wishes to remain anonymous for the time being. As a warning, this video is particularly triggering and explicit. If you think that it will effect you in any way, please do not click on the link. Essentially, the contents of the video explain how another young girl was invited on some form of date with Sam Pepper, this time at his house. The girl in the video explains how she went to his house thinking he was with other friends. She claimed that Sam anally raped her. This is an allegation that cannot be taken lightly. The girl goes into detail about how she had said no repeatedly, yet he ignored her, telling her to “shut the f*ck up”. The video is harrowing and shocking, so please – if you decide to watch it, be warned.

What shocks me possibly more than anything, isn’t the accusations made in the videos – without sounding extremely judgemental, I am not at all surprised. It isn’t the first time that accusations have been made within the YouTube community. What surprises me is the comments left below the videos. Dottie has been called “whore”, “attention seeker” – “liar”. Supporters of Sam have rallied to make a mockery of her, accusing her of “kicking him while he [is] down”, telling her that she should have just “put out” and that “she is clearly lying or far to stupid for her own good”. According to these people, it is her own fault that she was assaulted – because it couldn’t be perpetrators fault now, could it? Young and/or impressionable viewers are blinded by their love of this man – a man that they have never met. It is a running theme on videos of this nature.

The anonymous video has now disabled comments, however the comments written on it were similar to those written on Dottie’s video, calling her a liar, telling her that she should have known better. There is now a blog in which this poor woman is being forced to provide the internet with evidence, posting screen caps of text messages and more. Tianna Sumer has also confirmed that she can back up the videos content, claiming that Sam had attempted the same “trick” with her; inviting her to his house, etc.. She declined, thank goodness.

Thankfully, the internet is not completely full of rape apologists, but also has a lot of sympathetic posters. YouTube commenter Sydni got it spot on; “For everyone complaining that this young woman is at fault and only making things worse by submitting this video: She wouldn’t have to make this video if it never happened.”

I really believe that there is a clear issue that needs to be addressed. When a person makes allegations against another person, we need to treat the victim with respect. Do not accuse them of lying, and don’t tell them that they should have “known better” or “seen it coming”. As with most of these allegations, the truth will eventually come out about Sam Pepper, and it is not our job as an online community to determine a person’s innocence.

It is our job to support victims.

Sam Pepper

Feminism, Scandal, Sexual Harassment, YouTube

Hello fellow bloggers!

Today, I would like to talk about ex-Big Brother contestant and internet personality, Sam Pepper.

Where. To. Start. The beginning?

Sam Pepper is a YouTuber who posts primarily prank videos, which he pulls on strangers in the streets of London and L.A. Originally, he posted videos of graffiti art, and soon moved to the medium of Prank videos. However, over the past couple of years, the pranks that he has posted have not necessarily been the most savoury of pranks, and most of them have been given provocative titles through which he sucks in his viewers. Some of these include, “How to Make Out With Strangers”, “How to Steal Girlfriends” and “How to Pick Up Girls With a Lasso”. His most recent, controversial video was titled, “Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank” which has now been removed from YouTube due to violations of the Terms of Service – i.e. sexual harassment.

The content of these videos, which I am not going to link from this blog – I do not want to be responsible for any additional views he might gain – although not explicit, is unacceptable. In “How to Pick Up Girls With a Lasso” Sam walked the streets of L.A. throwing a rope around girls, pulling them to him, and refusing to release them telling them that “they are his now”. Despite almost being beaten up by a group of men, he still believes that this video is acceptable…because it’s “just a prank”. In another video, he went around handcuffing girls to him and refusing to release them unless they kissed him, despite many of the girls showing their disgust, and telling him to “f*** off”.

So…the main topic of this blog post. “Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank”. In this video, Sam went around the streets, his hand down the back of his hoodie, and his hoodie sleeve positioned to look like his hand was in his pocket, asking girls for directions and then grabbing their butts once they had turned away. When the girls realised what he was doing, they would laugh uncomfortably, walk away and one even said to him – “That is not alright. Don’t do that.”

Now, if you have heard about this scandal, you will probably already know that Sam covered up this blatant act of sexual harassment as a “Social Experiment”. He took to the internet with another two videos; “Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank Part 2/3” and “Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank Part 3/3”. Part two was an almost identical video to the first – but this time, a girl was walking around doing the ass pinching, on unsuspecting men. Part three was the “big reveal”.

Sam claimed that the first video had been a part of a social experiment. He claimed that he wanted to highlight the difference of disgust that the viewers displayed between the two videos – claiming that people were more disgusted by the first than the second. He was apparently trying to highlight the issue of sexual harassment towards men, and how it is viewed differently – how people apparently don’t care. He claimed that a good friend of his had been in an abusive marriage, and his wife had kept him in the relationship via different forms of abuse – he wanted to highlight abuse of men. Apparently harassing women was the way to do that? He claimed that the people in the videos had been actors, and it was all a big set up.

If this were true, and it had been a set up – kudos to him. Had it been genuine, the comment sections of the videos, would have been great examples of how society responds to the harassment of men in comparison of how society responds to the harassment of women. However, if you had seen the videos I think you would agree with me – those responses looked extremely real. The discomfort that the women displayed in their awkward laughs and confusion. The anger that some of the men showed, some of them walking away as soon as they had been “violated” – “That’s not okay, I have a girlfriend” said one of them. They did not seem like a performance.

Personally, I do not believe Sam. If this was a “social experiment”, what about all of the previous videos in which he violated women on the streets? Were they social experiments too? Of course they weren’t! In the past he has put out these prank videos, exploiting women’s and causing discomfort for “comedy”. He has been making a living out of harassing women in the street.

This time it blew up in his face, and now he is trying to save his ass.

As more information comes in, I will try to update you with what I hear. I know that there has been recent rape and sexual harassment allegations against Sam Pepper, made by a YouTuber, and a fan, however I feel like I should bring this post to a close. I will try and tackle those issues in another post tomorrow! As a sidenote, please do not go to Sam Peppers videos; it will only give him more views and money. And if you are currently subscribed to him, please – unsubscribe. Show that you are not okay with what he is doing.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll speak to you all again real soon!