Protests are today continuing across the country after a thong was used in evidence in a rape trial case in Cork. The court heard that consideration should be given to the 17 year old’s underwear which indicated consent.
In her closing remarks, defence barrister Elizabeth O’Connell SC said that the underwear that was worn by the complainant on the night she alleged she was raped by a 27 year-old man should be considered.
“Does the evidence out-rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone? You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front,” O’Connell told the jury who later acquitted the man.
Yesterday, Wednesday, November 14, saw protests in Cork and Dublin organised by ROSA – Socialist Feminist Movement in response to the inclusion of this evidence at trial. Today, November 15, a similar protest will take place in Belfast and tomorrow, November 16, one will take place in Waterford.
On social media, #ThisIsNotConsent has been trending worldwide with people sharing photos of underwear, calling for the Irish judicial system to eliminate the culture of victim blaming.
Counsel for man acquitted of rape suggested jurors should reflect on underwear worn by the 17yo complainant. Following this wholly unacceptable comment, we are calling on our followers to post a picture of their thongs/knickers to support her with the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent pic.twitter.com/ZkVU0GVAIN
— I Believe Her – Ireland (@ibelieveher_ire) November 10, 2018
— Repealist [on Illness Hiatus] (@Repealist_) November 12, 2018
On Tuesday, Ruth Coppinger TD held up a thong in the Dáil to highlight the serious implications of “rape myths” being admitted as evidence.
“We’ve seen recently clothes, fake tan, even contraception being used to discredit women.
“But the last Rape Crisis Network study estimated, at best, 10% ever get reported.
“And only one in 40 rapes have an appropriate punishment.
“How heroic do you have to be, Taoiseach – how much levels of fortitude, to pursue a rape trial in this country?”
— Sean Defoe (@SeanDefoe) November 13, 2018
Tweeting afterwards, Ms Coppinger said: “I hear cameras cut away from me when I displayed this underwear in
#Dáil. In courts, victims can have their underwear passed around as evidence and it’s within the rules, hence need to display in Dáil.”
I hear cameras cut away from me when I displayed this underwear in #Dáil. In courts victims can have their underwear passed around as evidence and it's within the rules, hence need to display in Dáil. Join protests tomorrow. In Dublin it's at Spire, 1pm.#dubw #ThisIsNotConsent pic.twitter.com/DvtaJL61qR
— Ruth Coppinger TD (@RuthCoppingerTD) November 13, 2018
“We need to have proper objective sex education in schools with consent at its core,” she said. “We need to take this into colleges, we need to take this into workplaces where most people are actually situated.”
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