The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) posted this ‘nonsense’ message yesterday: “warning people to get consent before they ‘bump into that special someone under the mistletoe’ or else they could be committing ‘rape.’”
The statement has drawn hundreds of mocking comments attacking the force for ‘trivializing’ rape.
The PSNI force has 159,000 Twitter followers, posted: “If you bump into that special someone under the mistletoe tonight, remember that without consent it is rape #SeasonsGreetings.”
It was not long before the warning was shared hundreds of time on the social media platform.
@Renown_Vet commented: ‘Since when did a kiss under the mistletoe turn into rape? Get a grip, and start being thief takes again not half-arsed SJWs [social justice warriors].’
@69mib wrote: ‘Bumping into someone, under the mistletoe, is now considered rape? Why do you trivialize such a serious issue with such a nonsense tweet?’
Mike love tweeted PSNI: ‘This tweet tells people that a kiss is a rape. Do you realize what you’ve said?’
But the force only removed the tweet after being contacted by MailOnline.
The PSNI wrote: “We posted a message on Twitter yesterday that some may have taken out of context but the message remains the same; when you are out socializing over the Christmas period, please remember without consent it is rape.”
This is not the first time the PSNI has faced backlash for social media postings about sexual violence. In March the Newry and Mourne division posted an image of a distressed woman under the caption ‘without consent it is rape’ and a message warning people not to ‘overindulge.’
Social media users raised concerns that the message amounted to ‘victim blaming’ by potentially implying that it is the responsibility of women to prevent rape by not drinking too much.
The ‘without consent it is rape’ campaign was launched by the PSNI in 2013. It was posted to publicize the law on sexual offenses in Northern Ireland.
After a probe was launched in August amid allegations that PSNI officers and staff tweeted racist, sexist and sectarian messages, and potentially prejudiced criminal inquiries.
At the time, six PSNI officers or civilian support staff were among the group under investigation.
The tweets were said to have included allegations against a Northern Irish journalist and also the abuse of another journalist from a Belfast radio station. it was reported that the posts included pictures of the interiors of PSNI stations including a CCTV monitoring station in Belfast.
SNI Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton is in charge of the force’s professional standards department, said at the time: “I can confirm that the PSNI is examining material posted on personal social media accounts by persons who may be serving police officers. In response PSNI professional standards department has instigated disciplinary proceedings against one individual who has been identified as a serving officer.”
If you know someone who might like this, please click “Share!”