“You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.” These words, uttered by a female defence lawyer at a rape trial in Ireland, were used to argue that the sexual contact between the accused and a 17-year-old girl was, in fact, consensual.
The 27-year-old man was acquitted of rape soon after. The use of the girl's underwear as evidence against her has sparked furious protests in Ireland and beyond, with people in disbelief that this kind of 'victim blaming' still occurs within the legal system of a developed European country.
In the city of Cork, where the trial took place, women took to the streets to lay underwear outside the courthouse, seeking 'the end of victim blaming in the courts.' The protests soon spread to other cities and online, where women have been posting photos of their own underwear on social media under the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent.
The issues of sexual harassment and what constitutes consent have been major talking points since the #MeToo campaign, which began to question the archaic social norms that have been accepted for far too long. These protests highlight what really should be obvious by now: there is no such thing as an item of clothing that implies consent, no matter how 'cute' or 'sexy' it may appear.
Scroll down below to check out the campaign for yourself, and let us know what you think in the comments.