Women tweeting #ThisIsNotConsent after underwear used as evidence in rape trial

Clay Curtis
November 15, 2018

Women are sharing photos of their underwear on Twitter along with the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent after an Irish teenager's thong was cited in the trial of the man accused of raping her.

She said: "You have to look at the way she was dressed".

In her closing argument to the jury, the defendant's lawyer, Elizabeth O'Connell, told jurors they should have regard for the fact that the teenage girl was wearing lacy underwear, according to the Irish Examiner.

The Irish legal system is facing ridicule after a 17-year-old's underwear was used as evidence of consent during a rape trial resulting in the acquittal of a 27-year-old defendant.

"The women of this country are getting a little tired at the routine victim-blaming going on in Irish courts, and the failure of lawmakers in this House to do anything about it", said Coppinger, who illustrated her point by holding up a black thong.

Nearly 400 people rallied in Cork on Wednesday against the verdict, the Irish Independent reported, while the social media campaign #ThisisNotConsent gained traction globally.

She said the women of Ireland were anxious over the routine victim-blaming taking place in the Irish courts and also the failure of lawmakers to tackle it.

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The accused told his senior counsel that what happened was consensual.

The day after publication of that court report, the head of Dublin's Rape Crisis Centre criticised the barrister's remarks.

The protesting women also clearly stated that what a woman wears does not equal consent hence the hashtag #ThisIsNot consent.

"We've seen recently clothes, fake tan, even contraception being used to discredit women who have the bravery to go to court", she said.

The row follows the trial in Belfast earlier this year of Ireland and Ulster Rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding.

Today's protest organised by ROSA Cork saw some 400 people march from Patrick Street to the Anglesea Street Court Complex, where dozens of thongs were hung from railings and laid on the courthouse steps. "Join protests tomorrow. In Dublin it's at Spire, 1pm".

In a tweet, Coppinger explained her point further - and put the word out for a lunchtime protest tomorrow (14 November): "I hear cameras cut away from me when I displayed this underwear in #Dáil".

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