Rally to be held in Cork following lacy thong comments in rape case

A marcher at a previous rally in support of rape victims

By Olivia Kelleher

A rally to protest against victim blaming is to take place in Cork city centre on Wednesday following a recent case in the Central Criminal Court where a barrister representing a man in a rape trial said that the jury should reflect on the underwear worn by a teenage girl.

The 27-year-old man was found not guilty of raping a 17-year-old woman in a laneway in Cork. At the sitting of the court in Cork a barrister told jurors they should have regard for the underwear the complainant wore 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."

The jury of eight men and four women took 90 minutes of deliberation to reach their unanimous not guilty verdict earlier this month.

The head of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Noeline Blackwell hit out at the use of what she deemed "rape stereotypes" in trials.

Now the Rosa Socialist Feminist Movement in Cork has decided to hold a lunchtime protest outside Brown Thomas in Cork on Wednesday to express their fury at the contents of the closing argument.

Cork Solidarity councillor, Fiona Ryan, has contacted Cork's 96M to highlight the protest which will take place at 1pm. She says action needs to be taken in relation to the language used in courts.

"This is just one example of what is every day in cases of sexual violence where your clothes, your manner, which has nothing to do with sexual violence can be used as evidence against you, can be used as evidence of consent.

"I was inundated over the weekend with people outraged and with people wanting to show their anger."

Meanwhile, the Rosa movement in Cork says victim blaming is, unfortunately, a common tactic used in sexual violence cases before the courts.

"The system has proven itself time and time again to be utterly damaging to survivors of sexual violence."

More information about the event can be obtained here

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