WOMEN FROM across Ireland have taken to social media to share pictures of their underwear after a teenager's thong was presented as evidence of consent in a rape trial in county Cork.
A 27-year-old man was acquitted of raping a 17-year-old girl earlier this week, in a trial originally reported on by the Irish Examiner.
The accused had maintained that the sexual contact, which took place in a laneway in Cork, had been consensual.
During his senior counsel Elizabeth O'Connell's closing argument, jurors were reportedly asked to consider the girl's underwear during their deliberations.
"Does the evidence out-rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone?" O'Connell is believed to have asked, according to the Irish Examiner. "You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front."
According to the report, the jury went on to acquit the man on a unanimous decision and after 90 minutes of deliberations.
The acquittal has sparked fury since, with women online taking to Twitter to share images of their own underwear alongside the hashtag #thisisnotconsent.
I hear cameras cut away from me when I displayed this underwear in #Dáil. In courts victims can have their underwear passed around as evidence and it's within the rules, hence need to display in Dáil. Join protests tomorrow. In Dublin it's at Spire, 1pm.#dubw #ThisIsNotConsent pic.twitter.com/DvtaJL61qR
— Ruth Coppinger (@RuthCoppingerSP) November 13, 2018
— Clàudia 🎗 (@catalanaalcor) November 14, 2018
— Leanne Byrne (@LeanneByrne2) November 14, 2018
— K M (@kazzianne) November 14, 2018
— Sheila Elsey (@ThingsDorySays) November 15, 2018
Protests calling for an end to victim-blaming in the courts have also taken place across Ireland.
In Cork alone, an estimated 200 people gathered outside the courthouse where the trial took place to lay underwear on its steps.
— I Believe Her - Ireland (@ibelieveher_ire) November 14, 2018
— Fiona Corcoran (@fiona96fmnews) November 14, 2018
Further protests took place in the western city of Limerick while another is planned for Waterford in the south-east on Friday.
The head of Dublin's Rape Crisis Centre is now calling for a reform of the legal system to prevent similar scenarios from playing out again.