Irish Courts Haven’t Learned Wearing a Thong Does Not Equal Consent

Ladies and gentlemen, I am tired. I am so tired of trying to convince everyone I know and even those I don’t that rape is bad and never the victim’s fault. We should be past this. It is 2018, and we should be better than this, and somehow there are still so many people out there spewing 1950s-era rape logic. It makes my bones ache. And then it’s not just everyday people but people in positions of power, like politicians and judges and, today, lawyers.

At a rape trial in Ireland, the defense attorney used closing arguments to ask the jury if they could really convict the accused of rape when the victim was wearing a lace thong.

“Does the evidence out-rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone?” the lawyer asked. “You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.”

A27-year-old man raped a 17-year-old girl in a muddy alleyway, but clearly she wanted it, because her underwear said so.

At least that’s what the lawyer thought, and the jury agreed. The jury of eight men and four women returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty.

The verdict drew immediate ire, with hundreds of men and women protesting around Ireland with signs and lace underwear in their hands. In Cork, where the trial took place, protesters laid lingerie on the courthouse steps.

Last week Tuesday, Ruth Coppinger, a member of the Irish Parliament gave a speech during a public debate highlighting the injustice of the trial.

“We’ve seen recently clothes, fake tan, even contraception being used to discredit women who have the bravery to go to court,” she said. “How heroic do you need to be to pursue a rape case in Ireland?”

Coppinger pulled a thong out of her sleeve during her comments to bring “the realities of life into the stuffy and conservative environment of Parliament.”

The next day, Coppinger led protests in Dublin calling for changes to the legal system in Ireland where, like most countries in the world, only a tiny percentage of rape cases result in conviction.

Women not only in Ireland but around the world have expressed their outrage at the case, probably because victims the world over face the same violence and subsequent injustice, and we are done.

This case, as with a similarly horrific rape case in Belfast in the spring, as well as countless examples every single day, is exactly why victims choose not to come forward. They know they’ll only be blamed for what happened to them and there is, often, simply no point.

Related at Care2

Photo Credit: YouTube

79 comments

Latoya Brookins
Latoya B3 days ago

That lawyer & jury are despicable.

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Lorrie O
Lorrie O6 days ago

They implied that she should have been wearing Bikini Atoll underwear, for the necessary atOMbOMb defense.

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Barbara S
Barbara S8 days ago

Thanks

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Shae L
Shae Lee9 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Mark Spiegel
Mark Spiegel12 days ago

I do not understand how anyone knew what the victims underwear looked like. Was she wearing them on the outside? Or did they discover her clothing preferences when the stained and bloodied garment was submitted as evidence. There is such a thing as vigilante justice. Some day women will have finally had enough and will begin to take the law into their own hands. And it will not be pretty.

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Lynne Buckley
Lynne Buckley13 days ago

Very sad to see such archaic attitudes still prevalent over a woman, her clothes and behaviour.

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Lesa D
Lesa D14 days ago

wow... disturbing to say the least...

thank you Lauren...

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Salla T
Salla T15 days ago

Ty

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Ingrid A
Ingrid A15 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Madison I
Madison I15 days ago

So sad the law is about winning and not what is morally just.

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