A rape victim was shamed for wearing a thong, so women are tweeting photos of their underwear in protest
Despite the recent strides made by movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up, rape and sexual assault survivors continue to be doubted, belittled, and harassed for coming forward. And after one 17-year-old rape survivor was shamed for her choice of underwear the night of her alleged attack, women are calling out victim-blaming by sharing photos of their underwear with the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent.
According to the Irish Examiner, defense attorney Elizabeth O’Connell noted the plaintiff’s choice of underwear in her closing statements, implying that she was looking for a sexual encounter the night of her alleged attack.
"Does the evidence out-rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone?" O'Connell asked the jury, per the Examiner. "You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front."
The jury found the man not guilty of rape after an hour and a half of deliberation. After the court’s decision, outrage spread across Ireland. According to the Irish Independent, on November 7th, Noeline Blackwell, the head of Dublin’s Rape Crisis Centre, demanded legal reforms. She told the newspaper that these kinds of statements are frequently made in court.
"These kind of mythologies and stereotypes around rape come up again and again in court cases, because the defense to rape is that the sex was consensual," she told the Irish Independent. "So anything the defendant can do to suggest there was consent will be used."
Twitter users shared their disgust at O’Connell’s words with the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent.
Some added pictures of their own underwear.
BuzzFeed News reports that Irish women also protested the decision in person on November 14th.
It’s downright absurd to suggest that someone’s underwear proves consent—or anything other than underwear preference—and we honestly can’t believe we’re fighting this dangerous misconception in 2018. We’re so proud of every single person standing up for the victim (and basic human decency) in this case.