Lancs students hang up a chain of pants at uni to support the #ThisIsNotConsent campaign
Lancs Uni’s washing line display of support is up in Alex Square today
A string of lace underwear has been pinned up in Alex Square, a display organised by Jade Sullivan and Georgia Britton, current Vice President of the Lancaster University Feminist Society.
They were motivated to act after, in a recent rape trial conducted in Ireland involving a 17-year-old girl, it was argued that the lace underwear the victim was wearing intimated that she was open to "meeting and being with someone."
The counsel for the defendant urged the jury to "look at the way she was dressed", and to question whether the underwear she was wearing "ruled out the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant." The 27-year-old defendant was consequently found not guilty.
This sparked a public outcry, with demonstrations occurring in multiple cities and universities across the United Kingdom. We spoke to the organisers and participants in today's LU demonstration.
Jade Sullivan, co-organiser of the demonstration told The Tab Lancaster: "I was completely disgusted and outraged that something so absurd as a girl's underwear can be used against her in court especially in cases as serious as rape. It resonates with me as a lot of my family are from Ireland and if any of them found themselves in a similar situation to the victim, they wouldn't get a fair trial.
"Lancaster University students should support the protest because it ensures that more people hear about this case and so it may be more likely to get a re-trial and maybe spark a change in the judicial system in Ireland and here too. No one should be afraid to report that they have been raped. The protest may make some people uncomfortable, but that is the point, the victim would have felt far worse being forced to discuss her underwear in the trial, and I think the protest shows this."
We also interviewed Georgia Britton, current Vice President of the Lancaster University Feminist Society, who stated: "Rape and victim shaming is a part of our culture that I genuinely think we have the power to change, and making statements like this is just another step closer to achieving that! Unfortunately I think we all know people who have been victims of abuse and I would love to show these people I care about that they’re not alone or to blame and that I support them completely, and definitely encourage other people to do the same."
Participant Alice Mills said the demonstration was an attempt to show that "consent is yes or no, any type of underwear, big, small, black, blue doesn't matter, if it's not a yes, it's not consent."
This demonstration is one of many, as the issues of victim blaming and consent are repeatedly brought to light in legal cases, work places and universities worldwide.
If you want to show support, you can go and visit the display, or alternatively you can show solidarity by using the hashtag #LUThisIsNotConsent on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.