From the November-December 2018 issue of News & Letters
In Cork, Ireland, an accused rapist was acquitted with a unanimous verdict when his lawyer passed around the teenaged victim’s thong underwear to the jury. Thousands of women across Ireland protested the persistence of rape myths in court cases with signs saying: “This is not consent” and “My little black dress does not mean yes.” Protesters placed dozens of thongs on the steps of the Cork courthouse. Thousands posted photos of underwear on social media with hashtags like #IBelieveHer and #ThisIsNotConsent. Legislator Ruth Coppinger held up a thong in Parliament stating, “It might seem embarrassing to show a pair of thongs here …How do you think a rape victim feels at the incongruous setting of her underwear being shown in the court?”
* * *
Pinjratod or “Break the Cages” began in 2015 as a spontaneous movement of women students in nine universities in India. On Oct. 8 activists marched at the University of Delhi. Female students at Punjab University, Pantiala, had been on a hunger strike for 12 days with many hospitalized. They demanded ending rules infantilizing and endangering women students in the name of “safety” like a curfew, limiting their use of libraries and banning them from their dorms when late.
* * *
Alisa Lombard, an Indigenous lawyer, is representing at least 60 Indigenous women who report being forced or manipulated into being sterilized during the past 25 years in Saskatchewan, Canada. Medical personnel approached them during childbirth or while going under anesthesia, sometimes claiming it was reversible. Each woman is claiming $7 million in damages due to severe emotional trauma. Senator Yvonne Boyer, a Metiz lawyer and former nurse in Ontario, addressed the Senate, calling for an investigation, stating many women across Canada have asked her for help.