If you don't follow British news media you will probably never have heard of Chedwyn Evans. He is a convicted twenty five year old rapist who has just completed his sentence - two years in prison.
Back in May 2011, he received a phone call from a friend called McDonald . Evans was invited to visit a hotel near Rhyl in North Wales - the purpose being to have sexual intercourse with a nineteen year old girl who was comatose because of excess of alcohol. McDonald had brought the girl to the hotel and had already had sex with her. Evans duly arrived at the hotel and committed the wicked deed while McDonald filmed the coupling on his mobile phone.
Oh, one thing I haven't yet mentioned about Evans is that he was a professional footballer. He played for both Manchester City and Wales before being transferred to Sheffield United whose famous Bramall Lane ground is just a mile from this keyboard.
Even when Evans was in prison, a debate began about whether or not he should be allowed to take up his footballing career when he came out. Sheffield United supporters appeared to fall into two camps. Evans supporters, who often dared to suggest that a rape hadn't happened in the first place, said that once a man has served his punishment he has the right to return to his occupation. Evans's detractors said that allowing him to play for Sheffield United again would appear to endorse the crime of rape and send out a bad message to women and young supporters alike.
Last week, Evans began training with Sheffield United once more and this has added fuel to the debate. Olympic athlete and gold medal winner Jessica Ennis has demanded that her name be removed from one of the stands at Bramall Lane if Evans ever plays for the club again. Other notable supporters have also withdrawn their patronage.Meanwhile, Evans has appeared in a video on his own website, holding his devoted girlfriend's hand while reading a script that basically says "I didn't rape that woman and I want my job back".
But what about the victim? Well she was moved from her home and family in North Wales, re-housed and given a new identity. She had become the target of vicious internet trolls. They have since discovered her new whereabouts and her new name and have outed her meaning that the authorities have had to give her a second new name and a second new location. She is still very young and at a time when she surely needs her family and friends around her her life has been thrown into chaos. It is as if she is being punished while her attacker - Evans, who has never once said sorry, expects to return to professional football.
The issue has been debated on radio and television as well as in the coffee bars and pubs of Sheffield and North Wales. You may already be able to tell where my sympathies lie for I have kept referring to Evans by his surname. He is usually known as Ched - Ched Evans. I feel for the victim and I am appalled that there are so many men who blindly believe that Evans should be allowed to lace up his boots again and run on to the pitch as if nothing had happened. Many imagine that the victim was "probably asking for it" and she got "what she deserved". I mean if a woman goes out in high heels and a short skirt then gets blind drunk, what can she expect?
If I were a young footballer getting ready for a training session, there is no way I would hang my clothes up next to the peg of a convicted rapist and there's no way I would want to pass the ball to him. Last night a fellow in our local pub suggested that men are the victims of women's protests when it comes to rape - all a woman has to do is to cry the word and the police will come running these days. But I said such cases were rare and it was much more common for women to suffer memories of rape in silence - fearing the consequences should they report their assaults.
Standing up against Evans is in my mind the equivalent of standing up for women. It is surely time to step forward into the light.