Nick Conrad is wrong about Ched Evans: rape is about violence, not passion

Men aren’t idiots, unable to understand the difference between enthusiastic mutual consent and drunken torpor

Click to follow
The Independent Online

In some ways, we have a lot to thank Ched Evans for. Sure, he is a convicted rapist who should never be allowed near a professional football team again – but his abhorrent actions and subsequent utter lack of remorse have given some particularly charming men an excuse to come crawling out of the woodwork and broadcast their repugnant views. Hello, rape apologists, and thanks for identifying yourselves!

The latest to out themselves as a member of Team Evans is Nick Conrad, a talk show host on BBC Radio Norfolk. Today, during a live debate about the Sheffield striker he said that women should "keep their knickers on" to avoid giving men "the wrong signals".

His completely illogical – not to mention dangerous – musings on sexual assault unfortunately ran on for some time, during which he demonstrated a deeply scientific understanding of male desire: “When you're in that position that you are about to engage in sexual activity there's a huge amount of energy in the male body” he said. “There's a huge amount of will and intent and it's very difficult for many men to say no when they are whipped up into a bit of a storm”. He continued: "And it's the old adage about if you yank a dog's tale then don't be surprised when it bites you. Or you can’t keep snakes in the garden and think they’ll only bite your neighbours.” Right.

Going over this again and again is, frankly, utterly exhausting. Just when you start to think that maybe – just maybe - we’re making progress, another tired rape myth pops up on prime-time radio to remind you that we still live in a victim-blaming society. To be clear: there is nothing a person can do to cause themselves to be raped. Questioning the behaviour of the victim seeks to absolve the attacker of blame, but there aren’t varying shades of grey here. A rapist is a rapist, whether he attacks in an alleyway, a living room or a swanky hotel room. A rapist is still a rapist if he has had sex with his victim before. Going home with someone is not consent. Being drunk is not consent. Your wardrobe choices are not consent. No woman or man is to blame for the violence committed against them; there is no right or wrong way to be raped.

But the thing which irks me most about Conrad’s particular brand of stupidity is that he seems to actually believe that the majority of men have the potential to be rapists. That anyone with a penis, when they are "whipped up", will suddenly become unable to control themselves and will attack someone.

Men – you should be appalled. You aren’t all mindless predators, waiting to pounce. You don’t need to be managed, controlled or tamed. You aren’t idiots, acting only on base animal impulse, unable to understand the difference between enthusiastic mutual consent and drunken torpor. Knickers on or knickers off, you are better than this. This idea also sends a damaging message about what rape is: it not a crime of passion or misread signals, and it's not about sex. Rape is about control, violence and power.

Conrad claims that “feminists” have “hijacked” the Ched Evans debate, and are “anti-men”. The thing is, Conrad, it’s not these “feminists” who are comparing men to “snakes” and “dogs”. That’s you. Happy International Men’s day, everyone.