Update: Irish women are posting photos of their underwear on Twitter, in response to a court case in County Cork which has provoked a huge reaction online. During the rape case, which involved a teenage girl and a 27-year-old man, a female barrister said the type of underwear the young girl was wearing on the night should be considered as evidence that she was open to having sex and it was consensual. Since being reported in the Irish Examiner, women and men have taken to social media to condemn the words used by defence barrister Elizabeth O’Connell, and the decision of the court. Now the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent is trending on Twitter, with over 20,000 tweets already.
Here are a few of the tweets, you can read the full story below.
Jurors in Cork were asked to consider the underwear a SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL was wearing when she was raped by a 27-year-old man.— Courtney Peterson (@_courtneymaria) November 13, 2018
Join the cause in solidarity, can’t believe this girl was subjected to these comments after such a traumatic event.#ThisIsNotConsent #Ibelieveher pic.twitter.com/PfkYERulgY
As a mum of two little girls and step mums to two girls it terrifies me that the world we live in, dictates they may have to justify the choice of underwear they choose to wear should they become victim to abhorrent crimes! #ThisIsNotConsent This doesn’t mean it’s my fault! pic.twitter.com/SdQXGJCCBJ— Jade (@JadeRandall14) November 15, 2018
I can wear whatever kind of f*cking knickers I want and it doesn’t mean I’m asking for the shift, or for your touching, or for sex.— Síona Cahill (@AnTaobhRua) November 14, 2018
That should be the end of the story.
‘Consent’ is informed, active, enthusiastic, and ongoing. It isn’t clothing.#Consent #ThisIsNotConsent
This story was originally published on 8th November 2018.
Rapists cause rape. Not what a woman has had to drink, how she behaves or what she happens to be wearing, and that includes what she is wearing beneath her clothes. But just this week – in post-#MeToo 2018 – the type of underwear worn by a girl who accused a man of rape was considered relevant in an Irish courthouse.
On Wednesday, a 27-year-old man was found not guilty of raping a 17-year-old girl in County Cork, Ireland, after his defence barrister urged jurors to reflect on the underwear the girl had been wearing on the night, the Irish Examiner reported. The jury of eight men and four women reached their unanimous verdict after an hour-and-a-half of deliberation.
The issue of consent dominated the case, with the girl telling the man: "You just raped me" and the man saying: "No, we just had sex."
In her closing speech, the main senior counsel, Elizabeth O’Connell, argued that the incident had been consensual and urged the jury to consider the type of knickers the girl was wearing in their decision-making, implying that a 'lace front thong' could indicate openness to sex.
You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.
"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."
Arguing for the prosecution, Tom Creed SC told the jury: "She is quite clear she did not consent. She said she never had sexual intercourse before."
There has been intense backlash against O’Connell's comment since the verdict was reached, with the head of Dublin's Rape Crisis Centre, Noeline Blackwell, hitting out against the use of "rape stereotypes" in rape trials, reported the Irish Examiner.
"When someone goes into court as a complainant ... they are likely to be asked that and are likely to worry about it," she said, suggesting she wasn't surprised by the language used by O’Connell. "All of these things are rape stereotypes that are used by defendants to plant a doubt in the minds of a jury taking away from the law which is that sex without consent is a crime."
Many others have been similarly venting their anger and disbelief at the barrister's comments on social media, describing them as victim-blaming and misogynistic. Some asked what type of underwear would imply a man was "open" to meeting someone, while others wondered what a woman would have to wear to ensure her claims were taken seriously.
Can't get over this barrister asking jury to reflect on a teen's underwear & if her lace thong suggested she was "open" to meeting someone. Wondering what kind of underwear suggests a man is "open" to meeting someone? Any legal experts know? Appalling. https://t.co/S8BgVR8DtK— Roisin Ingle (@roisiningle) November 7, 2018
I'm not even being funny. It's a genuine question. Because I have a suspicion that they would just find other reasons to protect the lives and careers of their precious rapists.— seriously hilary (@seriouslyhilary) November 7, 2018
Scary that some ppl think women's choice of underwear indicate a desire to have sex. Why those knickers? Maybe she liked them/they were on sale/her mum bought them for her...instead of asking y she wore lacy knickers we should be asking why he didn't obtain enthusiastic consent. https://t.co/U1mQ1iVNsD— Taryn De Vere (@TarynDeVere) November 7, 2018
So it looks like one can "allegedly rape" with impunity if a young lady wears lacy underwear?? No wonder rape cases are not reported. The law is always for the alleged rapist!!!— Michael Wesley (@Michael19987318) November 8, 2018