5,000 signatures reached
To: Department of Justice and the Irish courts system
Stop victim blaming in Irish courts
Stop the Irish Court System re-traumatising victims of sexual assault.
Why is this important?
Dear Department of Justice and the members of the Irish Court System,
Women in Ireland are afraid to report sexual assault as they feel they will either be judged or traumatised by going through the system. This current system oppresses women and puts the onus on them to prove they were not, in some way, giving the aggressor the wrong idea. They are questioned on their state of mind, their physical state, how much they had to drink, how they spoke to them, and most of all on what they wore on the night in question.
Just this week we heard about a barrister asking for a teenage girl's underwear to be considered as an indicator of her consent.
"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,"
This is a blatant attempt to reframe the narrative and hope to shed a bad light on the victim. We must not allow this language to be used in our courts and allow suggestion and assumptions to rule the outcome of a case like this. Women are being re-traumatised by the actions of solicitors in the Irish Courts. Do the right thing and protect the victims of sexual assault by not allowing the clothing they wore on the night of their assault be used against them. We need the Irish courts system to defend the victim, not the aggressor, and show empathy towards them. We need to be able to trust that the justice system in Ireland supports victims and right now they are falling very short of that.
This case and that of the Belfast rape trial show just how hard it is for a victim to be shown any respect through the course of a trial. We must hold ourselves to a higher standard and treat victims with dignity and respect. We cannot accept outcomes like this. We must stand up and be counted where it matters.