Why People Are Tweeting #IBelieveHer In Response To This Rape Case

produced by Anna Jay; photographed by Eylul Aslan; produced by Meg O'Donnell.
A high-profile rape trial that has dominated the Irish media for months has ended with four male defendants being acquitted of all charges.
Two Ireland and Ulster rugby players, Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding, were cleared of rape by a jury of eight men and three women who returned unanimous "not guilty" verdicts.
A third Ulster rugby player, Blane McIlroy, was found not guilty of exposure in the trial at Laganside Crown Court in Belfast. A fourth, Rory Harrison, was cleared of perverting the course of justice and withholding information.
The Irish Times reports that the verdicts were greeted by "muted cries of happiness" from the court's public galleries.
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A 19-year-old female student from Belfast accused Jackson and Olding of raping her in Jackson's bedroom during a party on the 28th of June 2016.
During the trial deeply offensive and abhorrently misogynistic WhatsApp messages sent by the defendants were presented as evidence. A female witness told the jury she had entered the room and seen Jackson engaging in penetrative sex with the alleged victim, despite his denying that this had taken place.
As she discharged the jury following the 42-day trial, Judge Patricia Smyth said: "This has probably been the most difficult trial that any jury in Northern Ireland has ever been asked to adjudicate on."
The verdict has caused backlash on Twitter, where the hashtag #IBelieveHer is now trending. Lawyer and women's rights activist Shola Mos-Shogbamimu said the verdict had left her with "no confidence in the legal system".
Check out a selection of responses to the verdict shared on Twitter, including one containing the horrifying WhatsApp messages presented as evidence.
If you have experienced sexual violence of any kind, please visit Rape Crisis or call 0808 802 9999.
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