Women around the world have been posting photos of their underwear on social media in protest after a man was acquitted in a rape case in Ireland during which the woman’s ‘thong’ was used as an evidence. A series of protests over sexual consent has been shaking Ireland, a week after the 27-year-old was found not guilty for allegedly raping a 17-year-old teenager. It all started after a criminal court case ended the case with the man being found not guilty of rape in the city of Cork.
“You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front,” defense barrister Elizabeth O’Connell asked the jurors to take into account the underwear the teenager was wearing, according to a report by the Irish Examiner.
— Sean Defoe (@SeanDefoe) November 13, 2018
The shocking defense left people irked and even led to a stir in Irish Parliament as one of the Irish MPs, Ruth Coppinger, produced the blue lacy thong in House to highlight “routine victim-blaming”.
Counsel for man acquitted of rape suggested jurors should reflect on underwear worn by the 17yo complainant. Following this wholly unacceptable comment, we are calling on our followers to post a picture of their thongs/knickers to support her with the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent pic.twitter.com/ZkVU0GVAIN
— I Believe Her – Ireland (@ibelieveher_ire) November 10, 2018
I hear cameras cut away from me when I displayed this underwear in #Dáil. In courts victims can have their underwear passed around as evidence and it’s within the rules, hence need to display in Dáil. Join protests tomorrow. In Dublin it’s at Spire, 1pm.#dubw #ThisIsNotConsent pic.twitter.com/DvtaJL61qR
— Ruth Coppinger TD (@RuthCoppingerTD) November 13, 2018
Using a thong as evidence of implied consent was considered victim-blaming and slut-shaming by many women on social media, who started posting pictures of their underwear using the #ThisIsNotConsent hashtag.
Coppinger also posted the photo on Twitter urging her followers to join protests in Dublin against the controversial verdict.
— Fiona Corcoran (@fiona96fmnews) November 14, 2018
While many marched on streets, others took to social media to express solidarity and also vent their anger.
— Clàudia 🎗️ (@catalanaalcor) November 14, 2018
— Leanne Byrne (@LeanneByrne2) November 14, 2018
#ThisIsNotConsent Underwear I wear every day. It doesn’t mean I’m ‘up for it’. It doesn’t mean I’m ‘asking for it’. My clothing or lack of does not, and never will, indicate consent. Stop victim blaming. pic.twitter.com/WfKf4fnbM1
— Eimear McKeown (@TheRetroBlog) November 14, 2018
— Em (@lilthumper408) November 13, 2018
— Theresa (@TheresaA0415) November 15, 2018
— アブラ (@1Blllie) November 15, 2018
We choose which style of underwear is most comfortable for us to wear. It doesn’t matter which style, size or colour they are #ThisIsNotConsent. Silence #ThisIsNotConsent. Consent is only 1 thing & that is the word YES. #NoMeansNo #ThisIsNotConsent pic.twitter.com/8Eo7JviMJG
— Aliceee. (@inwonderland93) November 15, 2018
Lace is not asking for rape, until I say yes it is a no.
— keegs 🏳️🌈 (@keeganblain) November 15, 2018
— Kali👑 (@kalipimentel11) November 15, 2018
— Kate (@ScaldoPanchine) November 15, 2018
I’m not going to post a picture of my underwear, but I am disgusted by this trial. I cannot believe that the defendant has been acquitted, because the victim was wearing a thong. #ThisIsNotConsent
— Sarsaparilla (@SignorinaDani) November 15, 2018
#ThisIsNotConsent I buy cute underwear because I think it looks cute not because I’m asking for it. I wear makeup because I like it and it’s art, not to please men. It is never the victims fault. No means no, yes means yes, and nothing means no and if you don’t hear a yes, stop.
— ♡ Gnarly ♡ (@therealgnarlyyy) November 15, 2018
I wear lingerie because it makes me feel good not as an invitation for sex, believe it not, not everything is centred around the enjoyment of men. #ThisIsNotConsent This is rape culture.
— Laura Kilvington 🌻 (@picturepositive) November 14, 2018
— Veras5 (@Veras5LiveIt) November 15, 2018
Just because I’m a female who wears thongs does NOT mean I automatically consent to sex..
I wear them for myself! ✋🏻
The judicial system in the UK and Ireland is completely screwed up and needs to change! NOW. The judge should be ASHAMED!! 🙏🏻 #NoMeansNo#ThisIsNotConsent
— Hazel👸🏼✨ (@hazelgriffiths_) November 15, 2018
#ThisIsNotConsent I cannot believe an older woman would do this to a younger one. I am truly disgusted and saddened by her comments in court. She has betrayed all women by her comments to the jury
— Lindsey Heymans (@lindsey_heymans) November 15, 2018
I wear a thong almost every day. It bears no relation to whether or not I want to have sex. How ridiculous it feels to even have to state that. I cannot believe this is still happening. #ThisIsNotConsent #IBelieveHer https://t.co/FtVSqczB1f
— Isabel Marler (@IsabelMarler) November 15, 2018
— Peter Tanham (@PeterTanham) November 14, 2018
If you happen to be a man and think that the type of underwear a woman wears gives you permission to rape them. I respectfully suggest having a conversation with your mother. *and see how that works out.#ThisIsNotConsent
— LubiePhil 🇮🇪🇦🇺 Halloween is not American (@lubiephil) November 14, 2018
— Niall O’Loughlin (@nialloloughlin) November 13, 2018
According to Irish Times, around 600 people attended rallies in Dublin and Cork in protest.