[Content note: discussion of rape]
Update (10:20 23/4/13): Apparently ITV have decided to pull the slot about Ched Evans! Many thanks to those who contacted Calendar News. x
Below is a copy of the email I just sent to ITV and the Calendar programme regarding the broadcast planned for tomorrow (23/4/13) about the rapist Ched Evans’ campaign to be freed. If you want to use any of the below to contact them yourselves, please feel free – I emailed mine to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
To whom it may concern,
As I understand it, tomorrow (23rd April 2013) will see ITV Calendar news feature a broadcast about the convicted rapist Ched Evans and his girlfriend’s campaign to prove that the rape survivor lied and that Evans is innocent. Evans was found guilty by the court, something that remains shockingly rare – around 7% of reported rapes resulted in convictions during 2011/12. The woman in this case has not only lived through the horrific ordeal that constitutes Evans’ crime, but was also harassed, bullied, intimidated, and illegally named on social media. As I understand it, she has been forced to change her name and move from her home such was the impact of the crime and what followed from it. Has she not been through enough? You are now adding to this woman’s ordeal by airing the figurehead of a campaign that has regularly abused this woman (see #justiceforched for examples), calling her – amongst much worse terms – a liar publicly. If the ‘Justice for Ched’ group have new evidence should they not be presenting it to the police, rather than airing it on television? Clearly they have failed to substantiate their claims as Evans has twice been denied appeal. While this may seem like an interesting news item for you, this is the life of a real woman being discussed and publicly smeared, despite the findings of the court, in what is a notoriously hard crime to get a guilty verdict for. How many rape survivors watching your programme will now fear that should they dare report the crime and even if the perpetrator is found guilty they are still liable to be called a liar on television by campaigners seeking to free their rapist. You are contributing to a culture that keeps rape survivors silent and intimidates and shames them.
I implore you not to broadcast this feature; it will do immeasurable damage to many survivors, not least the poor woman at the centre of this case. You should not be giving platform to a campaign the sole purpose of which is to call a proven victim of rape a liar. Please do the decent thing and do not air this feature.