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DIDGE - The View From Down Under

An Aussie’s ridgy-didge view of world affairs and popular culture.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

These fans deserve a red card

It seems we can’t go a day without another story linking sporting stars and rape allegations. The latest case involves Dutch footballer Robin van Persie, who is currently contracted to English club Arsenal. Very few facts are know about the case so I can’t comment on it, but what I do want to comment on are the reactions of some fans on the internet. Most were shocked, angry and disappointed, but not for the reasons you might first expect…

“His arsenal career could be over if this is true. Hope it’s not.”

“Shit, if this is true, there goes his Highbury future.”

“We should support him until there is a definitive answer. Afterwards, we will decide how to judge him - then we can start saying 'wasted talented etc'. But not yet.”

“[Arsenal manager] Wenger wont stand for any stupid behaviour and if he's guilty his Arsenal career will be over......don’t need this right now.”

“I just hope it's a mad bint accusing him and not an actual victim. He was doing so well, why throw all that hard work down the drain?”

“There goes his future! So much for the 'next Bergkamp'…”

“Very sad for van Persie if this is true, but I hope it's only bullshit. This would not be good for his career…”

“If he does go down for Rape that will be a waste of money by Arsenal.”

Yes, what a horrible, horrible situation… for the man. Assuming that the allegation is true (and I’m not) why is a rapist’s sporting career more important than the fact that a woman has been despicably violated? Why so much lamentation for a criminal than the victim? Why, when a sportsmen is accused of rape, is the first thought ‘Oh no, his career is destroyed’ and not ‘poor, poor woman.”? I think this illustrates that misogyny is still incredibly prevalent in society and can rear its ugly head in a manner of disturbing ways. And then there were the fans getting sex mixed up with rape…

“Frankly, girls would go for him... he need not have to rape one.”

“Why would he need to rape a girl? I mean he's a football star for crying out loud. Loads of girls will just jump on him with no effort at all. I'd fuck him and I'm not even gay.”

“[van Persie] doesn't need to rape girls, we have heard about his nightclub exploits or whatever.”

“I doubt he's done it because I doubt footballers really need to but you never know.”

“The man can't be stupid enough to rape a girl. No matter how hot she is, if he wants to get some he can get it from a girl who is very willing I'm sure.”

“It could have been [Arsenal teammate] Cole.”
-“Nah, if I was banging Tweedy, I wouldn't risk shagging some other bird in case she found out.”

Rape is not about sex, it is an act of violence. Rapists have power issues, which they inflict on other people. Rape is NOT about feeling horny and wanting a good time. It is a violent, degrading act performed by people who feel they need to avow power over others. But at least these fans were not making jokes…

“If he's found guilty and sent down, do you think the Dutch prison authority would have a football match: The Screws vs The Screwers?”

“I thought Robin van Persie said Michael Jackson was his idol. I think he took it too seriously.”

“And there was me thinking he was gay.”

“Did van Persie go to the Mike Tyson school?”

“Summertime makes the hormone’s go crazy!”

Some were comparing goal scoring poses and joking about what he might have looked like during the rape. And if you thought that was bad…

“Well I hope the girl was worth it.”

“Men are always innocent. I'd blame the two girls for:
1. Wearing skirts allowing easy access
2. Allowing van Persie to play”

“Maybe they liked it.”

Comments like this just make me sick. No matter what clothes a woman wears it is NEVER an excuse for rape, ever. And even if a woman is flirting, that is also NEVER an excuse for rape. There is absolutely no excuse for rape AT ALL.

But for all the ignorant, callous creeps there were some fans speaking sense:

“Please remember that rape is an extremely emotive subject and IS NOT A SUBJECT FOR CHEAP JOKES.”

“This whole thing about good looking athletes getting anyone they want and therefore not needing to rape is a load of crap!!!!! Let's dispel this right now!!! Rape is less about sex than it is about dominance.”

“No, he was spotted in London almost 2 weeks ago with his hand up 2 skirts! I personally think that’s quite impressive! “
-“What has that got to do with this case? This is an alleged rape, it doesn't show love of ladies, quite the opposite in fact.”

“OK lads, we can do without the crappy jokes.”

“If this is true I hate him sooooooooooo much.”

“Rape IMO is one of the worst things you can do.”

I was incredibly disappointed by the reactions and comments made by some football fans, however the comments I just highlighted show that many are sensitive to the topic and understand how damaging rape is. But the majority of the comments were either not supportive or entirely offensive.

This is a situation that can have no happy ending. It has been brought up by many in the internet forums discussing the allegations that countless believe the accuser of lying to get attention and money. As I said I’m refusing to judge anything involving the case until there is concrete information, however if the alleged victim is lying that is incredibly shameful. Rape is one of the worst things that can happen to a human being and to exploit that is disgusting. So either van Persie is a rapist or the woman is lying, as I said above, a situation without a happy ending.


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