Kiss under mistletoe without consent 'rape' - Northern Ireland police

Mistletoe kiss
A kiss under the mistletoe - 'rape' if it's not wanted, say Northern Ireland police. Photo credit: Getty

Police in Northern Ireland have been accused of trivialising rape after tweeting that a kiss under the mistletoe without consent is rape.

Hundreds of the force's Twitter followers piled on the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) reports the Daily Mail.

"If you bump into that special someone under the mistletoe tonight, remember that without consent it is rape," PSNI tweeted.

PSNI/Twitter consent tweet
The tweet was later deleted. Photo credit: PSNI/Twitter

The backlash came quicker than Santa on Christmas Eve.

"Since when did a kiss under the mistletoe turn into rape ffs?? Get a grip," replied @Renown_Vet.

"We may as well all just imprison ourselves and be done with it, before the thought police beat us too it [sic]," wrote @LeighMGPM.

"Bumping into someone, under the mistletoe, is now considered rape? Why do you trivialise such a serious issue with such a nonsense tweet?" commented @69mib.

The PSNI deleted the tweet after the Daily Mail got in touch, but its attempt to clear up any confusion only made matters worse.

"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 socialising over the Christmas period, please remember without consent it is rape," PSNI said in a new tweet.

"I need consent to socialise? Who knew?" replied @ffflow.

"The message yesterday was that bumping into people under mistletoe without consent is rape. Today, even socialising without consent is rape," said @GristoMill.

The PSNI was criticised in May for victim-blaming after it advised people not to "overindulge", alongside an image of an upset woman with the caption, "Without consent it is rape."

That tweet too was deleted, but only hours later the PSNI tweeted the same message - this time with a picture of a man, the Belfast Telegraph reported at the time.