Friday 21 September 2018

Rugby rape case reveals a tawdry culture where many polished young males see girls only as sluts

The way we investigate rape cases must be changed so more victims come forward, writes Ciara O'Connor

Acquitted of all charges last Wednesday: Stuart Olding
Acquitted of all charges last Wednesday: Stuart Olding
Acquitted of all charges last Wednesday: Blane McIlroy

Ciara O'Connor

I remember when the Welsh footballer Ched Evans was acquitted of rape in 2016 - I remember that it was a Friday, because I remember it was the next night, a Saturday night, that I, half-pissed and alone, was attacked by a taxi driver.

I had been reading the graphic vitriol being spewed about Ched Evans's accuser - the 'lying slut' the 'stupid little slag' who proved that 'drunk girls are cancer'. It was hoped across the internet that she was 'named and shamed and gets her life ruined'. It never crossed my mind to go to the police.

Since Paddy Jackson, Stuart Olding, Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison were acquitted of all charges last Wednesday, hundreds of women will have been sexually assaulted in Ireland. We know this statistically; I know this anecdotally. The vast majority of them won't have gone to the Garda. Regardless of the ins and outs of this particular case, regardless of the non-guilt of Paddy Jackson, hundreds of women have seen what happens when you bring an accusation of rape to court.

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