Raith farce shows misogyny still rife – Jane Hamilton

The furore over Raith Rovers’ signing of a man legally called a rapist could have been avoided if there had been clearer rules on what they can and can’t do.

Men in high-profile positions accused of serious crimes should effectively be banned from having such influential careers.

When Clyde signed David Goodwillie, they doubled down against the criticism and allowed him to stay for five years.

Raith obviously thought they could get away with the same thing.

Clyde’s David Goodwillie during the William Hill Scottish Cup fifth round match at Broadwood Stadium, Glasgow.

It’s an appalling message to send to young men who might look up to such footballers and other public figures.

It was wrong in 2017 that he was allowed to continue with his career and it’s still wrong today.

In my opinion, when someone in the public eye is accused of a serious crime, they should retreat into a corner and live very quiet uneventful lives.

This costly error of judgment by Raith Rovers has shone a spotlight on the misogyny that continues to be tolerated in Scottish football and beyond in our society as a whole.

The players themselves supported Goodwillie, according to club captain Kyle Benedictus, and others have come out and said it’s Goodwillie who needs support.

I’ve never heard such claptrap spoken in my life.

A man ruled a rapist by a judge needs support because his talent for kicking a ball means his past should be forgiven and forgotten?

Everyone deserves a chance at rehabilitation, right? Wrong.

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Author Val Mcdermid (left) attending a Raith Rovers v St Johnstone game during the William Hill Scottish Cup Quarter Final match at Starks Park, Kirkcaldy.  Jeff Holmes/PA Wire
Author Val Mcdermid (left) attending a Raith Rovers v St Johnstone game during the William Hill Scottish Cup Quarter Final match at Starks Park, Kirkcaldy. Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

This tone-deaf rhetoric reinforces the view that we are light years away from understanding and tackling violence against women.

For a start, for Goodwillie to be rehabilitated in the first instance would mean admitting his guilt and this is something he is never likely to do.

Not a shred of remorse has been directed towards his victim either.

Which leads us to another point – can sex offenders ever be rehabilitated? In my experience, no.

Time and again, I see the same names cross my desk because they’ve been released back into the community and within days or weeks are offending again. We send them to prison and immediately they’re put in a wing with, yup, other sex offenders. How appropriate.

They can mix with like-minded individuals who won’t judge or criticize, or force them to look deeper into the reasons why they did what they did.

I have zero confidence that men who commit sexual crimes against women and children can be “fixed” so they no longer present a danger – because we react punitively to their crimes while, ironically, living in a society that turns a blind eye to hateful acts whenever it suits an agenda.

While the actions of Val McDermid and those who took a stand are to be applauded, we are still scarily far away from empathy and
Understanding regarding violence against women and our attitudes towards victims.

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We still have a lot of work to do.

Appeal for clues may yet snare murderer

On July 11, 1994, the body of a 6ft 5in man wearing British-made shoes was recovered from water to the north-west of Heligoland, a small archipelago that forms part of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

Attempts to identify him in the years since have been unsuccessful and the case remains open.

Now, a new appeal for information has been launched by Wilhelmshaven investigators, the Oldenburg public prosecutor’s office and the Lower Saxony Police Academy – so that the man can be named, loved ones informed and, potentially, the perpetrators brought
to justice.

He had injuries on the head and upper body, and there was evidence of him having been weighed down, which would suggest he’d been harmed intentionally.

This press release made me feel quite sad.

It seems incomprehensible that someone could just disappear off the face of the earth and is seemingly missed by nobody.

The fact that, 28 years later, cold case investigators are still trying to identify the victim much less his killer seems very tragic indeed.

I really hope someone, somewhere can identify this man and give the investigators a place to start in their hunt for someone who thinks they got away with murder.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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