Radio host George Hook created controversy on his show by making “insulting” comments about a recent rape case that came before the courts.
Niamh Nic Dhomhnaill, who was raped by her boyfriend while she slept has criticised the broadcaster over comments he made about “implied consent” on ‘The Right Hook’.
The teacher’s former partner Magnus Meyer Hustveit (25) was handed down a suspended seven-year sentence after the Central Criminal Court heard she had been raped and sexually assaulted in her sleep between 2011 and 2012.
On his show, George interviewed Senator Ivana Bacik about the matter and how it was an unusual case, and the host put a number of questions to Senator Bacik, a lawyer, to answer.
During their conversation, the presenter said the following: “What about this. Hypothetically… you go into a relationship with somebody, be it marriage or be it you’re living with someone. So now you’re sharing a bed with somebody, yes, and obviously sexual congress takes place on a regular basis because you’re living with someone. Is there not an implied consent therefore that you consent to sexual congress?”
Senator Bacik replied: “George, that’s an outrageous suggestion… really, honestly I am surprised at you”. Hook told Bacik “that’s not my suggestion”, and the two discussed how up until 1990, marital rape was not a crime in Ireland.
“Even for you, that is a terribly dated and unbelievable assertion to make,” he said.
Responding to the comments, Niamh Nic Dhomhnaill said she was “shocked”.
“I was shocked to hear Mr Hook’s comments last night regarding ‘implied consent’ within relationships,” the 28-year-old said yesterday.
She also expressed disappointment that Newstalk, which she gave her first interview to, did “within hours broadcast such a crass, outdated and insulting comment about victims of sexual abuse in intimate relationships.”
George claims his comments were taken out of context and has further explained what he meant.
In his clarification, he said: “In that discussion, we spoke about how pre-1990 a man was legally incapable of raping his wife. It has come to my attention that Ms Nic Domhnaill was hurt by what I said and felt I was insensitive to her plight and to other cases. That was never my intention. I never said, and would never say, that a man has implied consent from a woman with whom he shares a bed. However Professor Bacik agreed it was difficult to prosecute rape cases where there was an existing relationship.
“I am appalled at what happened to that young woman in what should have been the safety of her own bed.”
He added: “What happened was a betrayal of the worst kind. Betrayed by the man she trusted and loved in the sanctity of her own home. As a husband, father and grandfather, I am shocked and saddened by this case.”