After teen's thong gets cited in rape trial, women in Ireland protest using underwear
Women all over Ireland are in protest after a 17-year-old girl’s thong was cited in the trial of the 27-year-old man accused of raping her.
The man was found not guilty last Nov. 6 by a jury at the Central Criminal Court in Cork where senior counsel Elizabeth O’Connell told the jury to look at the way the girl was dressed, as per The Independent on Nov. 9.
The 17-year-old girl was wearing a thong on the night the alleged rape happened. O’Connell, as per various reports, held up the girl’s thong at one point in the trial.
She also addressed the jury, saying, “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.”
The court’s decision has since roused countless of women to protest, gathering at demonstrations across Ireland. Women’s group I Believe Her – Ireland, for one, called on their followers to share photos of their thong as protest to the decision.
“Counsel for man acquitted of rape suggested jurors should reflect on underwear worn by the 17yo complainant,” wrote I Believe Her-Ireland on Twitter last Nov. 10. “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.”
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
In a video shared on Twitter by the organization It Stops Now, protesters can be seen at a demonstration chanting, “Clothes are not consent” while they held up signs with drawings of and actual underwear on them.
“Crowd is chanting that ‘clothes are not #consent’: the sense of solidarity, belief and conviction for change is palpable. #ThisIsNotConsent,” the account stated.
— It Stops Now (@ItStopsNow_EU) November 14, 2018
I Believe Her-Ireland also posted some scenes from the protest on Nov. 14, one of which was a picture of different types of underwear laid out on the stair steps.
“Why does the Irish court have their knickers in a twist over ours?” read one sign.
“End victim blaming in our courtrooms, in our society, in our communities, in our conversations,” read another.
— I Believe Her – Ireland (@ibelieveher_ire) November 14, 2018
“Reasons why women wear lace things: super cute, no panty line, Victoria’s Secret 7 for $27 deal,” they wrote on Nov. 14. “Something not at all related to the reason someone would wear a lace thong: consent to sex.”
Reasons why women wear lace thongs:
– super cute
– no panty line
– Victoria’s Secret 7 for $27 deal
Something not at all related to the reason someone would wear a lace thong:
– consent to sex#ThisIsNotConsent
— Project Consent (@consentproject) November 14, 2018
A certain Fiona Ryan (@CllrFionaRyan), on the other hand, expressed her pride after seeing the demonstrations of her city. She shared black and white photos on her Twitter account last Nov. 14, which were just some scenes from the demonstrations held recently.
“Deeply proud of Cork today, who came out with fury [and] demands for change to the rallying call of, ‘Whatever you wear, wherever you go, Yes means yes and no means no!’ #ThisIsNotConsent.”
Deeply proud of Cork today, who came out with fury & demands for change to the rallying call of "Whatever you wear, wherever you go, Yes means yes and no means no!" #ThisIsNotConsent pic.twitter.com/sjKAAC5NVl
— Fiona Ryan (@CllrFionaRyan) November 14, 2018
Varied and nuanced the narratives of rape and assault may be, one remains most clear: that when it comes to consent and refusal, nothing can be more black and white than “yes” and “no.” Cody Cepeda/JB