news

The reason why Irish women are posting photos of their underwear online.

Irish women outraged by a lawyer’s comments during a rape trial are posting photos of their underwear as part of a campaign against victim-blaming.

In a court in the Irish city of Cork last week, the defence counsel for a 27-year-old man accused of raping a 17-year-old told jurors to consider the alleged victim’s underwear when making their final decision.

“Does the evidence out-rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone?” Elizabeth O’Connell SC told jurors, according to the Irish Examiner.

“You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.”

The man was subsequently found not guilty. And while we can’t know if the lawyer’s closing comments played any part in jurors’ decision, women of Ireland are outraged that she even chose to make them.

Members of a Facebook group called Mná na hÉireann (Women of Ireland) soon after launched a campaign, asking their followers to post photos of the underwear with the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent. This gained further traction when the people behind the sexual assault survivors activist group I Believe Her endorsed the campaign on Twitter.

Women who also couldn’t believe blatant victim-blaming was still acceptable in Irish court, shared their incredulity and anger and posted photos of their own G-strings in support.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

But the women (and men) of Ireland are not content with a Twitter campaign.

Activism group ROSA (for Reproductive rights, against Oppression, Sexism and Austerity) organised protests across the country for later this week.

ADVERTISEMENT

A petition was also created by a woman named Michelle Leonard, who called for Ireland’s Department of Justice to end victim-blaming in courtrooms.

“Women are being re-traumatised by the actions of solicitors in the Irish Courts,” she wrote.

“We must not allow this language to be used in our courts and allow suggestion and assumptions to rule the outcome of a case like this.”

And it seems that some members of the government are listening.

In Irish parliament (Dáil Éireann) MP Ruth Coppinger held up a pair of her own underwear to highlight the trial this week.

“Why is nothing yet being done to stop the routine use of rape myths in trials, and how concerned is this Government about the chilling effect this is having on victims coming forward?” Coppinger said.

Protests will take place in Galway, Limerick, Dublin and Cork.

FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???