The release of Ched Evans has dominated the headlines in recent months, as the convicted rapist attempts to re-enter football. What is interesting about this case is that despite no club signing him, Ched Evans has a large fan base, particularly over social media, who believe he was wrongly convicted.

Some factors surrounding the case have sparked doubts as to Evans’ guilt. The victim had engaged in intercourse that night with a fellow teammate of Evans, Clayton McDonald, who also stood trial for rape. Where many have an issue with the conviction is that it was concluded the girl was too drunk to have consented with Evans, yet was able to give consent to McDonald. Television presenter, Judy Finnigan, sparked outrage whilst on Loose Women stating that the ‘rape was not violent’ and that the victim had had ‘far too much to drink’. Although insensitive to the victim, Finnigan does highlight an important misconception of rape. Many when asked to define rape, particularly men, often provide an answer with aggressive physical force being central to the definition. This provides an significant insight into society’s definition, as it is clear that there is a large degree of ambiguity as to what constitutes as rape.

Society has evolved dramatically over the past fifty years. From the sexual awakening of the 1960s, the 2000s has witnessed the birth of a promiscuous generation. The youth of our generation are faced with new challenges and are exposed to situations, which previous generations didn’t have to face at such a young age. This brings in the question of PSHE (personal, social, health and economic education) in schools. After studying the PSHE Association Annual Members’ Survey 2014 there are clear divides over its necessity as a subject. One submission states that ‘as a faith school most aspects of PSHE are inherent in our ethos and delivered on a daily ongoing basis. We do not feel the need for it to be statutory’ but where on a day-to-day basis at school do you educate children on complex situations regarding consent?

PSHE is not a legal requirement for schools in the U.K. thus leaving sexual education often in the hands of children themselves, through the Internet and what they have heard. One cannot be surprised that an ambiguity exists around consent, if as children, we are not taught an objective definition. An increase in PSHE is needed in schools to ensure this ‘grey area’ is tackled.

Moreover the U.K. government should make it a requirement by law for schools to teach PSHE to children. Although many believe this should already be instilled in people’s morals, one must only look at examples of cases from boys and girls at school, where the consumption of alcohol has been a vital factor in consent being misunderstood. Youth culture in the U.K., unlike previous generations, participates more wholly in a life of excess and thus should be regarded as a higher priority amongst educators.

The purpose of this article was not to question the conviction of Ched Evans but to merely use his case as an example of a situation many young men may one day find themselves in. Drink and drug culture at university is a prime example where young men in the U.K. are vulnerable to making this mistake as they severely impair their judgement. Increasing sexual education and providing a clearer definition of consent will establish a greater understanding of consent amongst men and women.

DISCLAIMER: The articles on our website are not endorsed by, or the opinions of Shout Out UK (SOUK), but exclusively the views of the author.