Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in the Irish cities of Dublin, Cork, and Limerick on November 14th after a teenager’s underwear was used against her in a rape trial. The demonstrations took place after news of the alleged rapist’s acquittal reached the public. The defense lawyer, Elizabeth O’Connell, argued that the 17-year-old alleged victim’s lacy thong indicated that she had consented to sex with the 27-year-old defendant. The physical demonstrations were accompanied by thousands more women sharing images of their own underwear online with the hashtag, #ThisIsNotConsent. Use of such so-called evidence not only puts blame back on the victim for their own assault but also continues the rhetoric that anything other than enthusiastic and continuous consent passes for consent. The communities across the country coming together in solidarity with the alleged victim brings hope that women can still find justice after reporting such crimes.
For Further Reading
Look more at the words and work of prominent politician in this fight, Ruth Coppinger TD, for more information on gender equality in Dublin and across the Republic of Ireland.
What steps need to be taken to improve the definitions and associations of consent in established systems, such as the judicial one?
Add your own voice to #ThisIsNotConsent or support those women already speaking out. Solidarity and support can never be underestimated.