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Why Those 'Victim-Blaming' Comments From Mason Greenwood's Fans Are So Harmful, According To A Charity

Lucy Devine

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Why Those 'Victim-Blaming' Comments From Mason Greenwood's Fans Are So Harmful, According To A Charity

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Trigger warning: This article discusses domestic abuse and sexual assault

A charity has condemned 'harmful' comments made on social media following allegations against footballer Mason Greenwood this weekend.

Greenwood, 20, was arrested on suspicion of rape and assault after photographs, video and audio footage was shared on a woman's Instagram account on Sunday.

Following the allegations, many have taken to social media to share messages of support for domestic abuse and assault victims.

Others, however, have been less supportive, with many directing their concerns towards Greenwood's 'promising' football career, while some accused the woman in question of 'setting [Greenwood] up' and others suggested she had 'done it to herself'.

Greenwood, 20, was arrested on suspicion of rape and assault (Credit: Alamy)
Greenwood, 20, was arrested on suspicion of rape and assault (Credit: Alamy)

One person said: "That's his United career done, such a shame."

While another said: "You’ve got to question why the allegations were first made on social media and not directly to the police."

And a third wrote: "I can't wait to hear his side of the story... I really want him to be innocent."

One commented: "It's always been the world against men 😥."

While the data surrounding domestic abuse - and how many women actually come forward to report it - is scarce, we do know that for the year ending March 2020, an estimated 1.6 million women aged 16 to 74 years experienced domestic abuse in the last 12 months.

However, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales data for the year ending March 2018, only 18 per cent of women who had experienced partner abuse in the past year reported it to the police.

While Greenwood has not yet been formally charged, comments like the ones above are plastered across social media for survivors to see, it's not difficult to understand why some victims feel reluctance in coming forward.

For the year ending March 2020, an estimated 1.6 million women aged 16 to 74 years experienced domestic abuse (Credit: Shutterstock)
For the year ending March 2020, an estimated 1.6 million women aged 16 to 74 years experienced domestic abuse (Credit: Shutterstock)

Speaking to Tyla, CEO of Rape Crisis, Jayne Butler has described the narrative as 'harmful'. She said: "Following any case of alleged rape or sexual abuse, there will be comments made to cast doubt or place blame on the victim or survivor, or that defend or excuse the actions of the alleged perpetrator.

"It’s really important to challenge rape myths so that women and girls are not shamed into silence. Sex without consent is rape - and everyone has the right to say 'no' to any type of sexual activity at any time.

"False allegations of rape are very rare, and the vast majority of women and girls will never report what has happened to them. Rape and sexual abuse are acts of violence and control: they cannot be explained away and there are no excuses.

"For those who have been affected by rape or sexual abuse, these comments can be incredibly upsetting, and may prevent them from speaking out about their own experiences.

"Victims and survivors will read these harmful comments, and see them as a reflection of how they would be treated if they spoke out."

The comments have been described as 'harmful' (Credit: Shutterstock)
The comments have been described as 'harmful' (Credit: Shutterstock)

Following Greenwood's arrest, Greater Manchester Police issued a statement. It read: “An investigation was launched and following inquiries we can confirm a man in his twenties has since been arrested on suspicion of rape and assault. He remains in custody for questioning.”

If you have been affected by the content of this article, you can find help, support and advice at Rape Crisis or The Survivor's Trust.

Topics: News

Lucy Devine
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