The Paddy Jackson Case – Rape Culture vs Lad Culture

The Paddy Jackson case is over

The Paddy Jackson case has drawn an increased amount of eyes lately as the Ireland and Ulster rugby duo,  Jackson and Stuart Olding have been declared not guilty of raping a 19-year-old student in June 2016.

After just 3 hours and 45 minutes of deliberation it reached a unanimous verdict on all counts.

Paddy Jackson was found not guilty of rape and sexual assault.

Stuart Olding was found not guilty of rape.

Both Jackson and Olding are now free to resume their sporting careers which their lawyers said were “blighted” by the false rape claims.

The pair had always denied raping the now 21-year-old woman, who can’t be named for legal reasons, during a party in Jackson’s home on June 28, 2016.

They maintained from the outset that any sexual contact they had with her in Jackson’s bedroom was purely consensual.

Acquitted and freed along with them were two friends, Blane McIlroy (26), from Royal Lodge Road, cleared of exposure, and Rory Harrison (25) from Manse Road, also Belfast, who’d denied charges of perverting the course of public justice, and withholding information. (


Is Rape Culture real?

paddy jackson case

It’s wrong to act completely oblivious or dismissive towards, “Rape Culture” especially from a position where you yourself don’t hear or experience it on a regular basis. Remember, just because in your world it’s not there, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. You only have to reflect on how long the catholic church covered up there rape culture before it became known worldwide. Think of all the traumatic children that couldn’t even express the horrific shit they went through. For some of these kids that culture became normalised to them. Even some of them grew up to rape themselves because again it was deemed normal. To say “Rape Culture” will never exist is completely ignorant.

The most fascinating thing about the truth is that there is only one pure, unadulterated version of it.

Throughout time people have passionately sought out the truth in every aspect of life.

Often alienating themselves and accepting the stigma of disrupting the status quo.

Others run and hide from it.

In a an existence of expanding grey areas, acceptance of moral flaws, fake TV, fake personalities and fake news.

The white heat of the truth can be too much.

The only people who know exactly what happened on that night are the people directly involved.

The issue of consent and the struggles a female must pursue when they make a claim of sexual assault has been magnified and rightfully so.

The issues of what the justice system deemed as a false accusation and the damage it can do on the reputations of all involved have been magnified and rightfully so.

The verdict has divided a nation.

There are no winners.

A daughter will go to sleep tonight knowing her parents still love her.

Four sons will go to sleep tonight knowing their parents still love them.

The public goes to sleep no more closer to the truth than we were when the case began.

The truth doesn’t matter because the justice system has spoken.

paddy jackson case


This Paddy Jackson case has instigated a huge divide in opinion regarding the events in question.

We are seeing females all over the country rallying behind the 21-year old woman. This must be recognised. It cannot be ignored. A serious issue has been raised and the details of this instance are now secondary.

In the eyes of the law, it’s an extremely grey area. To the individual, it can be entirely subjective. The definition of consent needs to be common knowledge. There is no room for an error in judgement in these cases. Whether there is intent or not, both men and women need to be aware of the consequences of their actions.

Regardless of who’s side you are on here, it is impossible not to feel shivers run down your spine reading the text of the trial:

There had been no warning that this would be the moment it would happen. Three hours and 45 minutes to decide the verdict of an eight-week trial.

Harrison’s father leaned forward in his seat and cried as his son was acquitted.

This was the first time he showed any emotion during the trial. His daughter reached around and clasped his hand. Her smile stretched across her whole face.

Jackson’s mother and sister were weeping quietly, holding each other and watching their Paddy leave the dock, innocent of rape, innocent of sexual assault.

“You are free to go.” The weight of the acquittal drowned out the last words of the Judge.

As the men walked from the cloistered dock into the public gallery, Paddy Jackson’s father was waiting.

 Not Guilty

A tall and imposing man, who has worn a black pinstripe suit every day of this trial, he extended his hand to Rory Harrison, then Blane McIIroy. His Dad, Paddy Jackson was last in the line and like at the end of a match, he shook his youngest son’s right hand and pulled him to his arms.

With bleary eyes, Jackson’s mother who has been in court every single day watched on, silently.

The court emptied quickly as the families followed their sons into the corridor.

Harrison women huddled in a group, quickly linked arms and cried, “It’s over. It’s over”.

The noise from dozens of phone calls filled the courtroom. “Acquitted…Not Guilty… All of them”. (

What have we learned from the Paddy Jackson Case?

It must be stressed that no matter what your opinion is, no matter how angry or happy you are at the results of the trial, you will never fully understand what it is like to be a member of the opposite sex.

Maybe men will look at the WhatsApp messages and think they were just having laugh. Perhaps lads will be lads. The fact remains that there may not be any direct intention to disrespect anyone here. These messages are going to be interpreted so differently that there is no point arguing about it. They were sent after the event occurred. Regardless of what happened on that night in 2016, these are condemning messages.

Women will look at these messages with disgust, and that is perfectly reasonable. They may be horrified that men behave like this when speaking about women.

Do not lose faith in this generation.

It is so unlikely that we will ever come to a definitive agreement regarding the Paddy Jackson case and it is almost pointless to attempt it. But it mustn’t be forgotten about.

‘Lad Culture’ vs ‘Rape Culture’

Any of the men reading this will understand what it is like to be in a lads’ WhatsApp group. There is some really awful, disgusting content that gets thrown around. This is content of all varieties, some of it is racist, some homophobic, and some is just plain horrific, but these topics are thrown around with nothing but humour within the right context.

You have a laugh with your mates about topics and issues that are extremely offensive. Videos get sent in that shouldn’t be getting sent in. There is no malice there.

Maybe this will be forgotten about. Maybe it won’t. But I can guarantee you that men will be more careful when they find themselves in similar situations. The risk is simply not worth it. This will be eyeopening for most men out there.

The definition of consent is ‘permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.’ This is so subjective. Does it need to be verbal? None of this is common knowledge among young men. But it needs to be.

At the same time, women all over Ireland may be at risk of ignoring the context here. It needs to be stressed that it is ok to come forward if you are a victim of sexual assault, but because this is a grey area, these cases are going to multiply.

The fact remains that anyone guilty of sexual assault must severely punished. Additionally, the fact also remains that anyone not guilty of sexual assault cannot and should not be charged with it. An innocent man is an innocent man and that is just a fact. Each one of these cases needs to be scrutinised. As a result, this grey area building around the concept of ‘consent’ is only getting bigger and greyer.

paddy jackson case

Closing Perspectives:

Sams Perspective 

From my own first-hand experience, I’ve had a number of women come to me recently and open up about regular sexual assault from various different men. This can be anything from getting slapped on the arse on a night out, lads getting abusive because they were rejected to near full on rape.

Many of them have had valid reasons for not coming forward. Do I believe the majority of men are like this and should be stigmatised or categorised in the same bracket as those that do? Absolutely not. I believe those that forcefully pursue wrongful intentions should be exposed as the individual scumbags they are. What I’m glad to see is exactly what is happening right now with this trending hashtag, #ibelieveher I believe lads should have better cop on how to treat women and not just women, but everyone with respect. Most importantly though, I don’t believe that “Lads Culture” is directly linked to “Rape Culture”. If that were the case, rape would be an epidemic.

On a closing note – Imagine this; If you’re a straight man, picture some big fuck off dude about to pin you down while you’re defenceless, vulnerable and unwilling and fuck you up the arse. Terrifying isn’t it? Now that’s how women feel in these situation. Get it in your head. Treat everyone with the respect they deserve. And if they don’t deserve respect, it’s still not ok to rape them.

Gav’s Perspective

No matter what comes of this, I think it’s so important to look at the positives from this case. The concept of Rape Culture is a flaw in our society and this needs to be recognised whether you agree with it’s validity or not.

There are so many victims of sexual abuse out there who haven’t come forward and that in it’s own right needs to be addressed. The statistics on rape in Ireland over the last few years are completely skewed and cannot be taken as concrete figures. Forget about the context here. This case is over.

I am a man so maybe I am biased and I will openly admit that. But lad culture is not and cannot be associated with rape culture.

If you take anything from this, recognise the importance of understanding what consent is.

Today’s verdict has divided the woman and men of Ireland, the jury has spoken, but once we all respect ourselves and we respect the opposite sex, we don’t need to be divided.



If you’ve ever been a victim of sexual assault please contact these numbers below