Hundreds Of People Gathered Across The Country Today To Protest Victim-Blaming In Irish Courts

The protests are a response to a teenage rape victim's thong used as evidence against her in court.

Twitter/Women’s Council of Ireland

Hundreds of people gathered across the country this lunchtime to protest victim blaming in Irish rape trials.

The protests are a response to a recent trial in Cork in which a 27-year-old man was acquitted of raping a 17-year-old girl – the teenager’s thong was used as evidence, and the defence barrister asked the jurors to consider her underwear as they made their decision.

“You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front,” barrister Elizabeth O’Carroll told the court.

The idea that the victim’s underwear implied consent was met with widespread backlash on social media, where women have been posting photos of their underwear with the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent.

Speaking about the trial in the Dáil on Tuesday, TD Ruth Coppinger held up a lace thong and asked why nothing was being done to stop the use of ‘rape myths’ in Irish courts.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar replied saying he could not comment on individual cases, but believed any defence which called into question a rape victim’s clothing was “absolutely reprehensible”.

Protests were organised in Galway, Limerick, Dublin and Cork today, with hundreds of people gathering to speak out against the language used in courts against victims of sexual violence and rape.

Protesters in Cork left underwear on the steps of the courthouse in which the trial took place:

Speaking at the Spire in Dublin, Tara Brown of the National Women’s Council of Ireland said:

Using rape myths, such as the type of clothing a victim was wearing, in order to determine consent shows us that Ireland has a long way to go to achieve a victim-centred prosecution system for violence against women.

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