Thong Shown in Rape Case Sparks Controversy

A lawyer defending a man in Ireland displayed a lace thong as a sign of consent in an Ireland rape case. The defense during the closing argument addressed the jury, asking them to consider the underwear that the woman was wearing during the time of the alleged rape. The woman is 17 years of age while the accused is a 27-year-old man. The rape is said to have happened in a back alleyway. 

The Irish Times was able to secure an interview with the lawyer - here’s what he had to say: 

“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, according to The Irish Times. “You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.”

The accused was acquitted of all charges on Nov. 6 in Cork’s Central Criminal Court. The case has sparked national and worldwide debate. 

There has been a large discussion started in Ireland and other countries regarding victim-blaming in rape cases. Women have filled clotheslines with their own underwear to show their support for rape victims. Women have also taken to social media displaying their own underwear with the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent. In the city where the trial took place, women laid lingerie across the steps of the courthouse. 

Courtesy: Telegraph​

Ireland is known to be a conservative country with heavy influence coming from the Roman Catholic Church. It was not until this past May that Ireland has seen a change in women’s rights. This past May, Ireland overturned the country’s abortion ban. There has been a call and a fury for the way that sexual assault charges are handled in the Ireland courts.

Below is a quote from Tara Brown of the National Women’s Council of Ireland.

“We stand in solidarity with survivors of sexual assault who are being grievously failed by our criminal justice system,” Tara Brown of the National Women’s Council of Ireland said Wednesday at a rally in Dublin. “The type of clothes a victim was wearing has no place in our criminal justice system, and it had no place in determining what is consent.”

On Nov. 13, a member of the Irish parliament, Ruth Coppinger, showed her support for the protests by revealing a thong during a debate to draw attention to what she considers to be “rape myths”.

Many men and women have been comparing the outcome of this case to another sexual assault case that occurred in Ireland. Two male rugby players were accused of raping a young woman. They were also acquitted after the court ruled there was not enough evidence to convict them after a doctor has ruled that the woman had suffered vaginal lacerations congruent with rape.  

This court case has sparked debate and discussion worldwide.