Monday, 17 December, 2018

Women Use Their Underwear to Protest Against ‘victim blaming’ After Rape Trial

Ruth Coppinger said women were getting weary at 'routine victim-blaming in Irish courts' Ruth Coppinger said women were getting weary at 'routine victim-blaming in Irish courts'
Kenny Thornton | 16 November, 2018, 14:04

"I thought it was equally as shocking as what happened in Belfast, and a similar movement should take place to resist sexism and rape myths used in court to place doubt in the jury's mind", she commented. O'Connell is believed to have asked, according to the Irish Examiner.

The teenage girl's underwear was displayed as evidence during the trial, with the defence lawyer telling the jury: "You have to look at the way she was dressed".

Hundreds of Irish women protesters, reports The Irish Independent_, chanting "Whatever we wear and wherever go, yes means yes and no means no" as they walked through the streets of Dublin, Cork and Limerick, holding aloft signs reading "This is not consent" and "End victim blaming in courts".

If you are seeing some photos of underwear with the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent on social media then let us tell you they are the part of a protest.

The man was found not guilty last November 6 by a jury at the Central Criminal Court in Cork where senior counsel Elizabeth O'Connell told the jury to look at the way the girl was dressed, as per The Independent on November 9. The accused's barrister stated that "You have to look at the way she was dressed". It was said that she was "open to meeting someone" because she was "wearing a thong with a lace front".

Although it's unclear whether the jury was influenced by the display of the underwear, at issue for many is the fact that Ireland has no specific law regarding whether such evidence should be used to impugn someone's character or virtue.

The accused was subsequently found not guilty.

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At the sitting of the court in Cork a barrister told jurors they should have regard for the underwear the complainant wore on the night.

Tom Creed SC for the prosecution argued nobody had seen the two kissing, and the man the defendant named as a witness who could allegedly corroborate his version did not give evidence.

"It's absolutely appalling", she said.

"[The complainant] was getting amusing, it was like she snapped out of a buzz".

"The story unfortunately didn't shock me, because harmful attitudes like this seem to be widespread, but it did anger me", said Courtney Peterson, who is based in England. "We were going to have sex, she said stop and I stopped", the court heard.

Women around the world are showing their support of a rape victim whose alleged perpetrator was acquitted in an Irish court earlier this month.

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