Rally against ‘victim blaming’ organised after thong claim in rape trial

Counsel in case argued girl (17) open to ‘being with someone’ based on her choice of underwear

Participants in a protest  last March in solidarity with victims of sexual violence. Photograph: Tom Honan/PA

Participants in a protest last March in solidarity with victims of sexual violence. Photograph: Tom Honan/PA

 

A rally to protest against victim blaming is to take place in Cork on Wedneday in response to a recent case in which a barrister representing the accused said the jury should reflect on the underwear worn by the teenage complainant.

The 27-year-old man was unanimously found not guilty by a Central Criminal Court jury of raping the 17-year-old woman in a laneway in Cork. A barrister told jurors they should have regard for the underwear the girl was wearing on the night.

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

Noeline Blackwell, chief executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, has criticised the use of what she deemed “rape stereotypes” in trials. And the Rosa Socialist Feminist Movement in Cork has decided to hold a protest outside Brown Thomas on Patrick Street in Cork at 1pm on Wednesday to express concern over the argument made in the case.

Rosa (for Reproductive rights, against Oppression, Sexism and Austerity) was involved in a series of protests across the country last March in solidarity with victims of sexual violence.

These followed the conclusion of the high-profile Crown Court trial of Ireland and Ulster rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding who were both found not guilty of raping a then 19-year-old woman in 2016.