“Move your f*cking legs up!”
“No I don’t wanna have sex!”
“I don’t give a f*ck what you want”A harrowing excerpt from the audio posted by Harriet Robson on social media
We’ve all heard the audio posted by Harriet Robson over the weekend. It is sickening, absolutely harrowing, in fact, to hear this poor woman going through something so traumatic. We can all hear the clip, and we all know what is going on, however for legal reasons I am going to have to use the word ‘alleged’ a lot throughout this article. Rest assured that the second this vile human is convicted and locked up, I will be going back and removing every ‘alleged’ strewn throughout this article.
I am not here to preach about rape or sexual assault because, quite frankly, I am not the best person to talk about this. I am a white male who has no real-life experience of this aside from hearing of cases on the news and seeing fictitious manifestations on various tv shows and movies. Aside from the standard moral objection of this vicious and heartless crime, I have no right to speak of this, so I am going to make a point of not.
I feel like this is a more logical approach than listening to these rape allegations and going “I understand” when, in reality, I won’t ever understand. I won’t ever truly fear for my safety when walking home from the pub at night. I won’t ever look in the mirror before going out and wondering if my clothes will bring unwanted attention, and I won’t have to dial 999 and hover my finger over the call button for fear of what might happen.
I don’t understand, but I can empathise. Even if a person hasn’t been raped, they may have suffered trauma. They may have experienced fear because of what a guy may have done. It doesn’t need to be a stranger in a dark alley. It can be a creepy person at work. It can be the ‘feeling’ of a stranger in an unknown situation. Unfortunately, in the case of Harriet Robson, it can be the person you thought you loved.
A cursory scroll of ‘Mason Greenwood’ on Twitter on the morning of 30 January brought up a myriad of messages. The vast majority were from straight-thinking individuals condemning the alleged actions of the Manchester United forward. There were other comments, however, both incredibly damning and remarkably insensitive, both to the victim and to anyone on their timeline who has experienced any form of trauma in this situation.
The first type are the defenders. The people who back Greenwood to the hilt because he plays for their beloved Manchester United and couldn’t possibly have committed such a heinous crime. ‘The audio must be fake, he’d never do that, he’s a cracking player’. ‘Stupid bitch must be lying’, or flippant ‘she was asking for it’. Listen to the audio, does that sound like someone asking for it? Quite the opposite, actually.
Is Mason Greenwood a tremendous footballer? Yes. Yes, he is. Does that excuse an (I can’t believe I need to type this) alleged rape? No, no of course it does not excuse that. LITERALLY NOTHING EXCUSES THAT. I don’t care if he is a good footballer. I don’t care if he is the greatest person to ever play the game. I don’t care if he cures Covid, cancer and AIDS. Nothing gives any person the right to commit rape.
If you saw the photos posted by Harriet, and listened to the final chilling seconds of audio – “push me again one more time and watch what happens to you” – and honestly still think that it’s okay because he is a good footballer player, then you are a stain on society. You are part of the problem.
The second, and much more prevalent comment on the Greenwood Twitter search was the humour aspect. If this is you, I urge you to re-read the above paragraph. If you want to see a real list of scumbags in life, put ‘Prison FC’ into the search box and browse the results. Thousands of results. Banter. Jokes. LOLs.
Just fuck off.
I could spend an hour trying to articulate reasons why these aren’t acceptable, but I don’t need to. If you’re reading this and you’re nodding your head, you get it. If I need to explain why trivialising the alleged raped of a young woman to a few memes and some poorly photoshopped headshots of Greenwood behind bars or in an orange jumpsuit is in poor taste then I just don’t have the willpower, as this will be tantamount to debating with a brick wall (a brick wall may not actually be as dense as these idiots).
Social media is great. It connects friends and family around the world. It can be a creative platform for those who need an outlet. It has potential to kickstart peoples’ businesses. Unfortunately, it is also a cesspit. A seemingly endless cavern of hate, abuse and lack of consequences. You drop a C-bomb and you can get a lengthy Twitter ban, but post real-life triggering hate and what do you get? Some wannabe writer putting his anger down in an article that will probably fail to make an impact. Oh well.
Usually with my articles I try to pen some witty remark, or deep-seeded societal point to finalise things, but nothing feels right. I don’t really know how to finish this. I’m annoyed, frankly. I’m annoyed that Greenwood has (Lord give me strength) allegedly committed this atrocity. I’m annoyed that Harriet Robson has recorded this, because it gives the impression that this has happened many times before. I’m annoyed that I need to be annoyed. People commit crimes. It’s loathsome, but it happens. I’m sure the courts will see justice swiftly served and the victim will hopefully be okay. What irritates me most of all are the defences and the jokes.
It isn’t ‘banter’ to make fun of this situation. Every person who is trivialising this has/had a mother. They have women in their lives. They can hide behind keyboards all they want; some don’t, and are openly proud not to, which is equally appalling. But why do we need to use the ‘you have a mother; how can you say this’ excuse every time? Just be a good person. Have the smallest shred of human decency.
I’m aware the majority of you reading this get it. I know I’m preaching to the choir. I appreciate that the vast majority do see the seriousness of this nature. There isn’t much that you can do to stop the trolls on the internet, but please, whatever you do, don’t be a part of it. Don’t laugh. Don’t share the meme. Be a good person. We can’t ‘understand’, but we can empathise.