Both witnesses said she behaved with them in detailed sexual terms as Evans had claimed she did with him. And so the judge agreed that evidence of the woman’s sexual history could be admitted. I believe this will have a devastating impact on victims – and that it will in future stop them coming forward for fear of what they face in court.They should have a chilling effect. That's a positive thing, because it will prevent more false accusations like the one that Ched Evans's accuser made.
I was part of a research team in 2003 that monitored the effectiveness of the laws preventing routine cross examination of a complainant’s sexual history. I sat through a number of rape trials and heard the flimsy reasons used by defence barristers when arguing that the judge should make an exception and allow the jury to listen to salacious details about the complainant’s sex life.
In our research, judges granted permission in two-thirds of the cases that we observed and did allow sexual history evidence, which was raised even in some cases involving children.
It has been widely reported it is rare for previous sexual history evidence to be admitted as evidence, but this is blatantly untrue. I hear regular stories from friends and colleagues that work in Rape Crisis and other support services of their clients being grilled in the witness box about their sex lives. Sexual histories are already dragged up and they already have a chilling effect on victims’ willingness to come forward. The Ched Evans case has made this many times worse.
In fact, there should be more chilling effects, such as jail terms for women who make false rape accusations.
There is an easy way for women to not have a sexual history that calls their testimony into doubt. Don't be a drunken slut, and then people will be much more likely to believe you.