Oxford held a ‘This is Not Consent’ demonstration today in protest of the recent Irish rape trial in which the alleged victim’s underwear was used as evidence against her in court.
A group of protestors – many wearing lacy underwear on top of their clothes – gathered on Cornmarket Street this afternoon for a peaceful demonstration.
The Oxford protest coincides with demonstrations across the UK following news that a lawyer, defending the alleged rapist, told a court in Ireland: “You have to look at the way she [the alleged victim] was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.”
The defendant, a 27-year old man, was found not guilty of raping the 17-year-old woman.
The Oxford protest included an “underwear flash photo”, a speech, a minute’s silence, and an open poetry reading.
A crowd of around 100 people gathered in Oxford today holding up banners and lacy underwear, chanting “No means no” and “I believe her”.
Protest organiser Bryony Streets told Cherwell: “The anger I felt […] only grew as I looked further into the case, moving me to organise a protest against victim blaming.
I hope this will show our support for all victims of sexual assault and continue to press the point that victims should never be blamed for the actions of their attackers.”
Ellie McCourt-Clarke, who attended the protest, added: “Clothing is not consent and protests like this are only the beginning to change attitudes surrounding that belief.
Everyone should come to make a stand whilst simultaneously supporting anyone affected by rape, sexual assault and its consequences.”