One doesn’t generally have to look very far to find an example of the promotion of machismo in Russian society, or the fact that violence against women remains a worrying trend (Ria-Novosti has just reported that a third of Russian women endure domestic violence for fear of losing their husbands). Nonetheless, the Guardian’s Miriam Elder has found a particularly unsavory example of misogyny in Russia Today’s exculpation of the antics of British footballer Ched Evans who has been convicted of rape, or as the RT columnist puts it, simply being a man.
“Life sucks in a bad way if you happen to live in Britain,” begins a column published on the channel’s website in the wake of the Evans verdict. “Disclaimer: Only if you are a man of virile age. Being rich and hot-looking makes it worse.” What follows is the worst of rape apologia, a litany of excuses, justifications and jokes that women have spent decades fighting against – 1,000 words devoted to proving why Evans, and, indeed, all mankind, is the true victim.
“No allegations of physical force,” writes the anonymous author, venting his rage at the verdict. “No coercion … Yet Evans is found guilty.” Let readers remember that the court convicted Evans after hearing that his victim was too drunk to consent to sex, that she believed her drink may have been spiked, that she has no memory of the incident.
Were these but the ravings of a lone internet commenter or the private ramblings of a chauvinist, that would be bad enough. That they are made by someone who presumably considers himself a journalist, behind a cloak of anonymity provided by a channel that likes to frame itself as an “international news organisation” on par with the BBC and al-Jazeera, is another matter entirely.