Wednesday 25 April 2018

‘Blood boiling after watching Cutting Edge’ - Niamh Horan and Dr Ciara Kelly in heated TV debate over alcohol/rape comments

Niamh Horan on last night's Cutting Edge
Niamh Horan on last night's Cutting Edge

Twitter went into meltdown last night in response to a heated debate on Brendan O’Connor’s Cutting Edge.

The host was joined by Al Porter, Niamh Horan and Dr Ciara Kelly to discuss the week’s most pressing events.

In a popular segment on the show, On the Slab, where the guests highlight an issue which has hit the headlines, Ms Horan placed ‘Women’s Safety’ in the wake of the Brock Turner sexual assault case in Stanford.

When discussing the case, Ms Horan said the young woman who was sexually assaulted “got drunk to the point where she was unconscious”.

READ MORE: Readers react to Niamh Horan's comments on Brendan O'Connor's 'Cutting Edge' 

Describing the story as “obviously very emotional”, Ms Horan went to say what she found “very interesting about the discussion – especially in our own context, in Ireland – was the role of alcohol and the fact that the girl on the night was very, very drunk”.

“In Ireland, 80pc of rape and sexual assault cases, alcohol is a factor. Alcohol is a factor is on both sides.”

Ms Horan was at pains to stress that the Stanford woman is “the victim, there is no question about that. There is no question of blame and rape is rape.”

She also said: "This is about facing facts and I don’t think we can look at that fact without discussing alcohol. Colleges around Ireland are all focused on consent but I think we need to put an equal amount of energy into the amount of drink that is being taken by women.”

She said: “You’re putting yourself at risk if you don’t have your wits about you and if you have taken a certain amount of drink and put yourself in harm’s way. We need to start addressing this issue. I don’t think we should be afraid of it.”

Fellow panelist Dr Ciara Kelly didn’t agree with Ms Horan’s point and said she had a huge issue with it.

“Allison O’Connor tweeted that in the cases of rape, alcohol seems to make men less culpable and women more culpable. Instead of focusing on the women – what they were drinking? how they were dressed? – why don’t we focus more on the men who are doing the raping? In the case of sex assault, is the victim on the stand as well?  It’s totally bogus.

“It’s the only crime where we bring it back to the women all the time. If someone robbed your watch, they wouldn’t say ‘You got your watch robbed, but you had a few drinks on you’”

“We need to lay the blame for rape at the feet of the rapists.”

Ms Horan went on to defend her points: “The campaigns in colleges are all around the consent of men. What I am saying is that we have forgotten the women. I remember when I was in college, the campaign was all around Rohypnol as being a date rape drug. We were all given lids for our drinks and to make sure that they didn’t change colour. 
"Eventually they discovered that it was alcohol that was causing blackouts but they skipped a massive piece of that puzzle which is drinking and the amount of drink consumed by woman and they went straight to men.

READ MORE: Some mothers 'ride the system' when having children - Niamh Horan sparks heated tv debate over working mothers

“The woman is the victim here but far before that stage of the story, we need to talk about women taking personal responsibility.

Dr Ciara Kelly: “Not before, Niamh, maybe down the line but not before. It is not about personal responsibility. Rapists rape. The person who is raped is the victim. Maybe down the line you would say, ‘Look after yourself…

However, Ms Horan countered with “After the fact is not going to help a woman when her life is destroyed."

Dr Kelly said it was up to parents to educate their own children: "More important than telling my daughter to be careful, I have said to my 16-year-old son, ‘Don’t have sex with unconscious women. Have sex with girls who are awake!’  I think there is far too much emphasis put on women’s behaviour and their responsibility."

The debate provoked a massive reaction on Twitter.

One user said: “Being drunk and wearing a skirt isn't illegal. Rape however is illegal. Very clear responsibilities.”

Another despaired: What I meant was... Seriously, saying anyone is being asked to be raped because they have had alcohol sends a v bad msg

Another wrote. “Blood boiling after watching #CuttingEdge Once again #victimblaming comes to the fore.

Another wrote: Sorry, why is Niamh Horan going full Katie Hopkins on #CuttingEdge?

However, Ms Horan’s views also found some support on Twitter:

“I once could not stand Niamh Horan but she's much more interesting than I thought, very good views. Al Porter honest as always”

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