‘They used my body without permission’: Woman cross-examined on alleged rape

‘Nobody asked me was it okay,’ says woman, who insists she pushed men’s hands away

A young woman who says that five men sexually assaulted and raped her in a car in the midlands has insisted that she did not consent to what happened to her.

Four of the five men are before the court and have pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of sexual assault, rape and false imprisonment of the woman on December 27th, 2016. The fifth man is not before the court.

Both the woman and the defendants are entitled to anonymity under the 1981 Rape Act.

The woman has given evidence that after a night out in a midlands town with friends she accepted the offer of a lift in the car. The car was driven initially to a remote area via a roundabout, and then to a carpark in another town, via an estate.

She said that shortly after she got in, two men in the back of the car began sexually assaulting her.

“Nobody asked me was it okay,” said the woman, adding that she pushed their hands away.

She said she then got into the front passenger seat, sitting on a man there.

In her statement to gardaí, the woman described that man raping her, as men in the rear of the car also put their hands back onto her.

Brendan Grehan, SC, defending the driver of the car who was aged 17 at the time, put it to the complainant that a person could indicate a willingness to go along with something without verbalising it. He suggested that she had been passive.

‘I didn’t allow him’

“There was a lot going on and I told them to stop but I think I was passive to an extent,” she replied.

“But you allowed him to go on,” Mr Grehan said in reference to the front seat passenger.

“I didn’t allow him,” the woman said with force, adding: “I’m sorry for raising my voice.”

Could the man have had the impression that she was willing to go along with it, asked Mr Grehan. She replied “I don’t think so”.

When the car stopped at a remote location, each of the men is alleged to have sexually assaulted her. Mr Grehan said his client asserted he did not rape her; he thrust against her but did not penetrate her.

“He did,” said the woman.

Counsel asked had sex happened without any co-operation from her and the witness said replied “yes”.

Mr Grehan said his client claims he was kissing her and she was kissing him back. She denied this.

“He says you were French kissing, tongue to tongue,” said Mr Grehan.

“I don’t remember his tongue in my mouth but he was kissing me,” said the woman.

Mr Grehan took the woman through several Facebook messages she sent to a friend, using a phone lent to her by the driver of the car, in which she sought the address of a house to where she could go at the end of her alleged ordeal.

“You didn’t try to call the gardaí or anybody else,” asked Mr Grehan.

The woman agreed she had not.

“There isn’t anything [in the texts] about you being in danger,” said Mr Grehan.

“I was using the driver’s phone,” said the woman.

To get the phone, she had had to ask for it angrily but she had not been angry earlier, suggested Mr Grehan.

“I didn’t know how they’d react,” she replied.

The jury was shown excerpts from the video-taped Garda interview of the woman on January 8th, 2017.

In the final excerpt played to the jury, gardaí asked the woman what she would call what had happened to her.

“Rape. I guess I was raped in different ways. They used my body without permission,” she told gardaí.

The trial continues on Monday morning before Ms Justice Tara Burns and a jury.