A police force has been accused of trivialising sexual assault after tweeting that bumping into someone under the mistletoe could constitute rape.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) was forced to delete a post and clarify its “context” after a backlash on social media.
It tweeted: “If you bump into that special someone under the mistletoe tonight, remember that without consent it is rape #SeasonsGreetings.”
But Twitters users reacted angrily, accusing it of tweeting “nonsense”.
Twitter user @69mib said: “Bumping into someone, under the mistletoe, is now considered rape? Why do you trivialise such a serious issue with such a nonsense tweet?”
One accused the force of having a “warped view of the world”.
Another user, @Renown_Vet, said: “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].”
Mike Love tweeted: “This tweet tells people that a kiss is rape. Do you realise what you’ve said?”
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@Barry_Kers wrote: “Are people having sex under the mistletoe now? What a bizarre statement. Mistletoe- the next thing to be banned”
The force, which has 159,000 followers, deleted the tweet and then posted a new one, which also came in for criticism.
“We posted a message on Twitter that some may have taken out of context but the message remains the same; when you are out socialising over the Christmas period, please remember without consent it is rape,” the new message read.
Dave Smith replied: “I need consent to socialise? Who knew? Maybe get someone on your social media who has a grasp of the English language”
“Police services need to give up on Twitter hardly a week goes by without something ridiculous being tweeted,” @BaggJames said.