Raith Rovers chiefs ‘should look at rape victims in the eye’ rather than ‘celebrate and protect David Goodwillie because he scores goals’, one rape survivor has said.
The woman, who goes by Miss M to keep her anonymity, slammed the Kirkcaldy side for their controversial signing.
We told how Goodwillie moved from Clyde FC to the Fife team in a late deadline day transfer.
The Stirling-born striker was, in 2016, accused of raping a woman at a party in West Lothian 2011.
In a civil case in 2017, the 32-year-old was ruled to have raped her and ordered to pay £100,000 in compensation.
Miss M had endured a similar situation when her rapist, Stephen Coxen, also escaped criminal conviction before being sued for damages in a civil case.
Miss M was raped on a night out in Fife in September 2013.
After a not proven verdict at a High Court trial in November 2015, she successfully sued Coxen, from Bury, Manchester, for damages in a civil case – the first of its kind in Scotland.
Miss M said she was left ‘triggered’ by news of the Raith Rovers deal with Goodwillie as she feels her trauma mirrors that of his victim.
Miss M urged club chiefs to ‘meet her face-to-face’ to ‘fully understand’ the ‘reality for rape survivors of this nature’.
She told the Record: “I invite Raith Rovers bosses to meet me and other victims whose rape cases went to a civil trial to understand exactly what they’ve done.
“While I’m not Goodwillie’s victim, they need to know the message they’re sending out to the world.
“Footballers are celebrities, they’re role models for young people on big wages.
“This sends out the message that you can be considered a rapist and it’s business and usual, you can lead a normal life and move on, unlike victims.”
Raith Rovers’ boss John McGlynn hailed the player as a “great signing” that will be “crucial to the club’s promotion push” in the Scottish Championship.
Miss M added: “This club has knowingly taken on a man who was found to have raped someone by a senior judge and they’re just protecting him by saying he scores goals.
“It’s a disgrace.
“Raith Rovers chiefs have no regard for rape victims, for women, for the fans and staff who have loyally followed the club for years but are now abandoning it.
“Where’s the respect for them?”
Earlier we told how six long-term staff members have resigned at Raith Rovers over the signing of Goodwillie, while two sponsorships have been axed.
The club played against Queen of the South at home last tonight, with the opposition wearing a pink kit to back a campaign to end violence against women known as the White Ribbon campaign.
Announcer Johnny MacDonald supported the club for 40 years.
He wrote on Twitter: “Sadly I have decided to walk away from the announcing duties at the rovers. Never felt this way about my club in over 40 years supporting them.”
Lifelong fan Marie Penman left a new job as an employability project delivery officer with the club’s community foundation.
She wrote: “Following last night’s news, I have this morning resigned from my position at @RaithRoversCF .
“This was my dream job – only started last month – as I have supported the club all my life, but their signing of a rapist made me sick. Shocked & so disappointed.”
Director Bill Clark, who is a lifelong Rovers fan, quit his role along according to Company’s House, with supporter-director Andy Mill reportedly saying Goodwillie would ‘not be touched with a bargepole’ by other clubs.
Both men had opposed his appointment.
Captain of the women’s team, Tyler Rattray, wrote: “After 10 long years playing for Raith, it’s gutting I have given up now because they have signed someone like this and I want nothing to do with it! It was good being captain of Raith while it lasted.”
Supporter liaison officer Margie Roberts also announced she was leaving saying her values no longer aligned with the club.
She wrote: “Due to recent developments within the club I have today tendered my resignation as SLO/DAO. My values and that of the club are now on a divergent path.
“I would like to thank everyone who has encouraged me and helped me through out my tenure.
“I have enjoyed meeting so many fans.”
Sponsors Val McDermid – whose name is plastered across players’ shirts – and Paul Farley both pulled their support.
Mr Farley posted on Twitter: “Have written to @RaithRovers ending TagGames future shirt, or other, sponsorship and requesting our branding removed from shirts for the remainder of the season.”
The actions of Ms McDermid and Ms Rattray were praised by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
First Minister wrote: “The stances that @valmcdermid and women’s team captain @Tyler_RattrayX have taken are principled – though difficult for both of them.
“But the fact they’re in this position at all reminds us that our society still has a way to go to make zero tolerance of sexual violence a reality.”
A fundraiser has also been launched, which has raised nearly £9,000 for Rape Crisis Scotland.
Sponsor Paul Farley posted on Twitter: “Have written to @RaithRovers ending TagGames future shirt, or other, sponsorship and requesting our branding removed from shirts for the remainder of the season.
“We stand with @valmcdermid and the majority of fans against violence towards women.”
Local paper the Fife Free Press launched a petition asking for Goodwillie to be removed so the club can remain ‘family’ oriented.
It said: “The Fife Free Press newspaper, which proudly serves the people of the Kirkcaldy area, feels that Raith Rovers can not continue to call themselves a family club while expecting fans to cheer for a man ruled to be a rapist wearing the club’s colours.” .”
And generous donors contributed over £6,000 to a JustGiving page supporting Rape Crisis Scotland.
To donate, click here.
Miss M is now a prolific justice campaigner and kick started the End Not Proven campaign launched by Rape Crisis Scotland.
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