Women in Ireland have stood up together to define consent. After storming social media with underwear photos, they have now taken to streets protesting against the defense lawyer who held up a teenager’s G-string in a rape trial to indicate consent. Last week, at Cork Central Criminal Court, defense attorney Elizabeth O’Connell in her closing address told the judges they should consider the type of underwear the teen wore the night of the incident. Soon after the trial, the demonstrations were organised under the hashtags #ThisIsNotConsent and #EndVictimBlaming. Women Flood Twitter With Underwear Photos After It Was Used as Evidence in Rape Trial in Ireland.
The 27-year-old man was found not guilty of raping the 17-year-old. According to the Irish Examiner, the defence barrister presented the jurors with a lacy thong worn by the victim and said, “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.” Using a thong as evidence of implied consent was nothing but victim blaming. The lawyer’s remark sparked outrage far beyond the trial. Growing Rape Cases in India: These Statistics Reveal 7 Ugly Truths about Sexual Violence in The Country.
Here are some pictures from the #ThisIsNotConsent rally.
— Ruth Coppinger TD (@RuthCoppingerTD) November 14, 2018
— Lady Louisa (@IouisaLouisa) November 15, 2018
— Elizabeth Mohen (@BethMohen) November 16, 2018
At a rally in Dublin on November 14, Tara Brown of the National Women’s Council of Ireland said as quoted by The Guardian, “We stand in solidarity with survivors of sexual assault who are being grievously failed by our criminal justice system. The type of clothes a victim was wearing has no place in our criminal justice system, and it had no place in determining what is consent. We have a responsibility to create a safe system for survivors of sexual assault, and we are repeatedly shown that we are a long way from achieving a victim-centred [prosecution] system.”
#ThisIsNotConsent protestors place underwears on the steps of the courthouse.
— Fiona Corcoran (@fiona96fmnews) November 14, 2018
In Cork, the protest which was organised by a feminist organisation ROSA, women marched to the courthouse and placed their underwear at the steps of the building “to show that we are not tolerating it anymore, that we won’t be silenced, not anymore,” spokesperson, Fiona Ryan told ABC News. Protests also erupted in other parts at Ireland with hundreds of women and men calling for a national reckoning over how sexual assault cases are handled.