#113 A Question Of Consent


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Sculpted features and lips cherry red against his sombre suit, Ched Evans seething, subsiding, standing next to his solicitor reading a statement, close to the fiancée who stood right by him throughout.

Convicted of rape in 2012, now exonerated after a re-trial, in the meantime the Welsh footballer served two-and-a-half years of a five-year prison sentence.

Three in a bed that early summer night. Hardly enough floor space in Room 14 for three young muckers to be anywhere else. Bedspread’s the corporate colour purple. Legs spread and calling the cum shots, he has always said. Too drunk or drugged (not by him) to have given her consent, she has always maintained.

But how did they end up here, in a scene of well-used furniture and a woman who feels ill-used? The chronology is clear enough: exiting the Zu Bar, dark interior and don’t look at the carpet (now permanently closed); wobbly walk across seaside town well-past its best. And was there kissing in the back of the cab?

Timing is key to the court room. But our line of questioning is of a different order: how is this tawdry scene the counterpart of what we often see, for example, on the football field – flair, determination, even nobility? Aside from who said what or not that night about having sex, if This Is Your Life – the life of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas’ LLareggub but spelled the other way round – the wonder is that any of us consent to it.