UK

Ched Evans accuser shown 'love and support' by fundraising campaign

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Media caption"Jean Hatchet" said the aim of the fundraising campaign is to show "solidarity" with the woman

A blogger raising money for the woman who footballer Ched Evans was accused of raping says the campaign is intended to show her "love and support".

Jean Hatchet, who writes under a pseudonym, told the Victoria Derbyshire programme she was asked to start fundraising by other women.

Mr Evans's 2012 rape conviction was quashed in April, and he was cleared last week of raping the 19-year-old.

She has been subjected to abuse online and has also had her identity revealed.

Ms Hatchet's fundraising is set to be split between a donation to charity Rape Crisis, which supports women going through the courts in rape trials, and the woman complainant. It has raised more than £19,500 so far out of a goal of £50,000.

The blogger said the efforts made to raise money for the woman were "not about financial support, but about showing that we care and offering solidarity".

'Not the majority'

She said "there was such a strong feeling among women" about the case, and disappointment that the complainant's sexual history had been brought up in court.

"They wanted to show support. So they got on to me and said they weren't in a position to brave the online abuse which would come, but wanted me to help.

"We wanted to let this woman know that the abusive voices online are not the majority of the British public. We wanted to show support and solidarity."

The complainant in the case, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also had to change her name and move house after being identified on social media following the first trial.

She was named and abused again on social media soon after Mr Evans was cleared. He has issued a statement dissociating himself from anyone naming the woman in the case.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ched Evans was supported during both his trials by his girlfriend Natasha Massey

Ms Hatchet said she has contacted the woman through the police team who worked with her, to see if she will accept the money.

"We don't care what she spends it on, but we hope she will accept it, or if not nominate a charity to give it to instead."

She also said the woman wanted to thank those people who have offered their support.

Ms Hatchet said she has "no idea" about reports that the woman is looking to emigrate. "I'm not raising money to send anyone abroad," Ms Hatchet added.

Sexual history

Details of the woman's past sexual behaviour were heard during the second trial, a move criticised by some - including former solicitor general Vera Baird QC - and which Ms Hatchet described as "callous and cruel".

She said: "I'm afraid that the use of previous sexual history will be used more in rape trials in future, because it has now been used in a high-profile one."

Ms Hatchet had been a persistent critic of Mr Evans's attempts to return to football after his conviction for rape.

He was released from prison in October 2014, having served half of his five-year sentence. The former Wales international was then courted by several clubs, including his former team Sheffield United.

However, there was a public outcry against attempts for him to be re-signed by the club, and Ms Hatchet started a petition - which gained about 170,000 supporters - calling on Sheffield United to not reinstate him.

The League One side backtracked amid heavy criticism from supporters and club patrons including Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill.

'Misogynistic' abuse

But Ms Hatchet has also faced online abuse for her campaigns against Mr Evans, and for this latest fundraising drive.

She says one male blogger has harassed her online "pretty much every day for two years", and that she was sent a message on Twitter from someone who "said he liked the idea of someone coming to my house and caving my skull in".

She says this vitriol has come from a "small section of men - and it is men - who are unable to cope with the fact that women are kind and supportive to each other. They even hate men who stand up for other women".

She added: "The misogynistic abuse I've received is tiring and upsetting, but the way I receive messages from women who say my efforts have helped them, more than outweighs any negative voices."

The Victoria Derbyshire programme is broadcast on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News channel.

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