Uproar in Ireland after teen's underwear used in rape trial

Ireland's parliament was addressed by a female MP who showed them thong underwear, exclaiming: "It might seem embarrassing to show a pair of thongs here... how do you think a rape victim or a woman feels at...her underwear being shown in a court?"

Lydia Morrish
Lydia Morrish NewsMavens, United Kingdom
Uproar in Ireland after teen's underwear used in rape trial - NewsMavens
Graffiti, Twitter

Why this story matters:

People in Ireland are pushing back against the practice of using an accuser's clothing against them in court, after the council of a man accused of rape asked the jury to analyse a teenager's underwear – a "lacy thong" – during the trial.

Irish MP Ruth Coppinger protested by pulling a lacy thong out of her sleeve in parliament, asking when the issue of sexual violence would be taken seriously by the Dáil (Irish Parliament).

"It might seem embarrassing to show a pair of thongs here in this incongruous setting... how do you think a rape victim or a woman feels at the incongruous setting of her underwear being shown in a court?"

Protests organised by Socialist feminist group Rosa were held in a number of Irish cities on Wednesday calling for an end to "victim-blaming in the courts".

Several women posted photos of their underwear on social media with the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent in a stand against the practice.

Details from the story:

  • Protests have been held in Irish cities after a 17-year-old woman's underwear was used in court to defend a man acquitted of rape.
  • The accused maintained that the sexual contact between him and the woman was consensual.
  • The closing argument of his senior counsel Elizabeth O'Connell, in which she asked jurors to reflect on the underwear worn by the teenage complainant, attracted widespread attention and prompted a series of online protest movements.
  • “Does the evidence out-rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone?" said O'Connell. "You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.”
  • An estimated 200 people gathered to march to the courthouse in Cork, where the trial took place, and lay underwear on its steps.
  • #ThisIsNotConsent became a popular hashtag, as women posted protest images of their underwear to denounce the appearance of the accuser's thong in court.
  • In response to the case, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said: "Nobody asks to be raped, and it's never the victim's fault. It doesn't matter what you wear, it doesn't matter where you went, who you went with or what you took... Nobody who is a victim of sexual violence is ever to blame for the crime committed on them."
inbox_large_illu Created with Sketch.
Tired of the news media’s prevailing male perspective? We are too.

Get our newsletters composed exclusively by female journalists from all over Europe.

WITH FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM:
SUPPORTED BY:

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

STRATEGIC PARTNERS:
NewsMavens
NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
CORE TEAM
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at https://newsmavens.com/transparency-policy
System.Threading.Tasks.Task`1[System.Threading.Tasks.VoidTaskResult];