Things I have learned from the Paddy Jackson & Stuart Olding trial

Don’t go to VIP sections of night clubs, you are obviously after famous rugby players;
Don’t act as if you don’t know who they are, don’t you follow Ulster Rugby?;
Don’t talk to, look at or show any sign that you might be attracted to said rugby players, or you are obviously leading them on;
Don’t expect them to remember your name, you’re just another ‘bird’;
Don’t drink around rugby players, because you know what drinking leads too…
Don’t go to an after party in a rugby player’s house, because then you are ‘asking for it’;
Don’t kiss rugby players, unless you are sure you are ‘up for it’;
Don’t go to their bedroom alone to collect your bag, it’s obviously an invitation;

Don’t assume he will understand when you say you are ‘not interested’;
Don’t assume he will ask you if you want to have sex;
Don’t assume that your tears will make him stop;
Don’t assume that because you went up with one man his friends won’t follow;
Don’t assume that those men will ask you if you also want to have sex with them;
Don’t assume that any of these men care about your comfort, pleasure or consent;
Don’t assume that a woman walking into the room might help you;
Don’t assume your ‘hysterics’ after the fact will make them question what they did;
Don’t be surprised when they text their mates about ‘spit roasting’ you the next day;

Don’t assume that in reporting what happened, THE VERY NEXT DAY, people won’t think you are making it up;
Don’t be surprised if no one is charged;
Don’t be surprised if your case never reaches court;
Don’t be surprised when, even if it does, you are interrogated for 8 days on
your sexual history, what you were wearing, how much you had to drink, what you had been planning for that night, and a minutiae of details relating to said sexual assault;
Don’t assume that the forensic report that described lacerations to your vagina will be enough to prove you were assaulted;
Don’t be surprised when the defence tries to convince the jury that the blood was actually from your period;
Don’t be surprised when they argue that you wanted this, all of this, especially the ‘fame’; 
Don’t assume your version of events will be enough for people to believe you did not give consent;
Don’t expect that just because you were in shock anyone will forgive minor inconsistencies in your first statement;
Don’t ever wear nice underwear, it will be paraded around court;
Don’t ever talk about sexual assault with other women, it obviously means you think all men are rapists;

Don’t be surprised when the accused are questioned only for a number of hours;
Don’t be surprised ed that while you were asked about the position of your hands as you were being orally raped, the accused get to talk about their charity work and what great guys they are;
Don’t be surprised if the defence’s character witnesses get to talk about how the accused helped them with their shopping bags;
Don’t be surprised when the defence claim you didn’t scream, leave or ask for help, so you couldn’t be a ‘real victim’;

Don’t be surprised when the judge tells the jury that they should take into account the ‘good character’ of the accused;
Don’t be surprised when the judge tells the jury not to hold the inconsistencies between the accused stories against them, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are lying while any inconsistencies in your own story could mean you were lying or making a false allegation;
Don’t be surprised when the judge tells the jury your word is not good enough, there must be other evidence, 
Don’t be surprised when the judge tells the jury that the expert evidence to back up your testimony is beyond their or her experience;

Don’t be surprised when the jury of 8 men and 3 women deliberate for less than four hours after nine weeks of evidence;
Don’t be surprised when those same 8 men and 3 women unanimously return a non-guilty verdict four all four of the accused;
Don’t be surprised that even though you did everything right, there is no justice;

Don’t expect rugby players to actually face consequences for their actions, remember Brock Turner? And he was just on the college swim team;

Don’t expect rugby players to treat you as a human, you are just a bird, a brasser, a slut, a whore, an object of male sexual entitlement, your body is there to serve male pleasure and boost male egos, you’re disposable, we’re disposable;

Do know that we are with you, we believe you, we admire your courage, we share your rage;

You did not stay silent and neither will we.

#YesAllWomen #MeToo #IBelieveHer #IStillBelieveHer*

*This story was originally published on March 6th 2018 but was updated on March 29th in response to the last few days of the trial and the not-guilty verdict

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