We Can't Remain Silent

In recent headlines, there has been news about a 17-year-old girl’s rape trial in Ireland, where her rapist, a 27-year-old man was acquitted because the victim was wearing “a thong with a lace front.” The defense lawyer made the argument that because the victim was wearing a lace thong, she wanted to have sex.

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The idea that this young woman was “asking for it” because of her choice of underwear is appalling and it promotes victim-blaming, instead of promoting the idea that a woman’s choice of undergarments or clothing does not mean that she was asking for sex.

Furthermore, this is not the first time in Ireland that a young woman’s underwear choice was brought up during her rape trial. In 2002, during the rape trial of 17-year-old Lindsay Armstrong, Armstrong was asked to hold her underwear up in court three times as the defense lawyer was trying to make the case that she wanted to have sex with her alleged rapist because she was wearing a thong. During her trial, the defense lawyer made her read out the slogan on her underwear, which read, “Little Devil.”

Lindsay’s attacker was found guilty, but at that point, the worst had occurred, and Lindsay took her own life after the traumatic events that happened during the trial.

Image source: Pexels

News spread around the world about how the 17-year-old victim’s rapist was acquitted, and how related the story was to Lindsay Armstrong’s. Since the rapist was acquitted, it started the “This is Not Consent” movement on social media, where women post pictures of their underwear in solidarity and spread awareness about the toxicity of rape culture.

It is a shame that in 2018, nothing much has changed to rewrite the narrative of rape culture and that women are still being blamed for what violently happens to them.

What happened to both of those young women during trial should not be allowed to stand. If there is no consent to sex or sexual activities, it is rape, no matter what the woman is wearing or how much skin she is showing, or what her underwear looks like. Victims of rape should never be to blame for what has happened to them, the only person responsible for what happened to them is their rapist.

We must not remain silent, because what is happening to young women around the world is inadmissible and they deserve justice.

If you or anyone you know has been raped and needs help or resources, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.