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Rape Crisis pays tribute to activists & sports commentators

21 Nov 2014

In response to last night’s news (20th November 2014) that Sheffield United Football Club (SUFC) has overturned its previous decision to allow convicted rapist Ched Evans to return to training with its squad, spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales Katie Russell said:

“Rape Crisis welcomes this long-awaited announcement from SUFC.

It suggests that the Club has absorbed the strength of public opinion, reflected on its responsibilities towards the huge numbers of sexual violence survivors who will inevitably be among its fan base, and ultimately employed some common sense.

The extended period of interest in this news story has fuelled significant, high profile debate around issues related to sexual violence, which is something Rape Crisis generally encourages.

At the same time, it has undoubtedly highlighted the extent to which damaging, often misogynistic and victim-blaming, myths and misinformation are still all too common, and has reinforced the great need for our ongoing work to raise awareness and understanding of sexual violence throughout our society.

Particularly disturbing has been the volume and violence of the threats and abuse that activists, campaigners and figures in the public eye who have dared to voice an opinion have received on Twitter and elsewhere.

These personal attacks and campaigns of harassment have made the words and actions of Jean Hatchet, Charlie Webster, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Paul Heaton and other women and men from a range of backgrounds and fields all the more laudable; Rape Crisis thanks and salutes these strong and principled individuals.

It is heartening that not only those, like Rape Crisis, who know first-hand the devastating and often life-long impacts of sexual violence have chosen to take a stand on this issue, but people too from across the worlds of sport and media.

Now that this chapter is closed, we hope that we can return our focus from the perpetrators of sexual violence back towards the people for whom Rape Crisis exists and their rights and needs: sexual violence survivors.”