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#ThisIsNotConsent: Here’s why women around the world are sharing underwear pics

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Another movement at the horizon. Recently, women across the world have been sharing pictures of their underwear on social media with the hashtag ‘#ThisIsNotConsent’, in an expression of their outrage over a 27-year-old man in Ireland being acquitted of rape charges based on the teen survivor’s thong.

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According to reports on The Irish Examiner on November 6, the criminal court in the city of Cork declared the defendant ‘not guilty’of raping a 17-year-old.

During the rape trial, the defence lawyer had held up the teenager’s underwear in court and told the jury: “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.”

After which the jury of eight men and four women let the accused man off.

Since then, the case sparked public anger in Ireland, where many women objected to the idea of using underwear to imply consent. “We had hoped that as a society we had moved on from these archaic, victim-blaming rape myths,” said Susan Dillon to CNN. Ms Dillon founded up the “I Believe Her – Ireland” Twitter page that came up with the ‘This is not consent’ hashtag.

Since then, women around the world have been posting pictures of underwear to protest the trial outcome.

Meanwhile, Irish politician Ruth Coppinger took her protest to Dail Eireann, the lower house of the parliament, where she held up a black lace thong to highlight ‘routine victim-blaming’. She had produced the lacy underwear from her sleeve and shared a photo on Twitter.

Ms Coppinger wrote, “I hear cameras cut away from me when I displayed this underwear in #Dail. In courts victims can have their underwear passed around as evidence and it’s within the rules, hence need to display in Dail.”

 

#ThisIsNotConsent protest has now spread across the country – in Galway, Limerick, Dublin, Belfast and Cork – to support the social media campaign.

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