Are we accepting violence against women as part of our culture?



Watching Virgin Media’s 5.30 pm News on Monday night, through no fault of the excellent broadcaster who was simply reporting the day’s stories, the three leading items focused on violence perpetrated against women. Stopping in my tracks, I suddenly realised that, due to the prevalence of these savage assaults, I am not only living in a country that appears to tolerate this repulsive violation, it accepts it as if it were almost part of our culture. And that’s not something we, as a right-thinking society, should ever be sanctioning.

  Something else we should not be sanctioning is victim blaming and shaming; and yet, only recently in a rape trial, a barrister representing a 27-year-old individual who was accused of raping a 17-year-old teen, directed, (with unbelievable callousness in my opinion), that the jury should reflect on the type of underwear worn by the child. And yes, that’s what she was at the time of the alleged incident, a child, whom, at 17, was below the age of majority. The accused was found to be not guilty.

  But I digress…back to Monday’s News, where the  first segment dealt with an 85-year-old defenceless, wheelchair-bound Dublin grandmother called Jenny Powell; a gentle woman who has dedicated her life to helping animals. Ms. Powell was brutally beaten with a hammer by a gang of wimpy scumbags who got away with €20. The other items dealt with the grooming and the heinous rape of a young woman by a polluted pervert when she was a child of just 12; and the rape of a woman by a depraved degenerate she met on a dating site.

  Now it may, (it may not), have escaped your notice folks, but this very Friday marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Action, an annual campaign initiated by Women’s Aid, opposing violence against women. And,  while some of you reading this may tut-tut, wring your hands, and express how shocking these crimes are before moving on with your lives – and there’s nothing wrong with that reaction, it’s perfectly reasonable – I have to say that despite the empathy we show towards these harmed women, despite the high profile public awareness campaigns and the training initiatives being rolled out, as well as the support of the fantastic charitable services who do their best with limited funding, the latest statistics – which were registered by Women’s Aid in 2017 – that a staggering ‘15,833 disclosures of domestic violence’ levelled at women was noted during ‘21,451 contacts’ with the service, makes for distressing reading.

  These figures must clearly indicate to any right-thinking individual that, instead of getting better, the situation is escalating to a much more disturbing level. So, instead of the outpouring of upset and shock displayed by the public, the Government, and by legislators in response to the rising incidents of persecution, oppression and the torture of women, I’d suggest that what we need is an entire shift in public perspective.

  Now I know that Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has great plans to bring proposals to Cabinet regarding the commission of a second Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland (SAVI) report into looking at incidents of sexual violence by the end of the month, (and well done to him). Against the backdrop of his impressive rhetoric, (and the fact Christmas is on the horizon, and we know this is typically a time when, for various reasons, violence against women spikes), as someone who has identified in this publication as a survivor of a violent rape, (and while I don’t presume other survivors share my curiosity…they may), I’d like to ask the Minister what strategies he plans to put in place to protect Irish women while the steering group is putting this report together? It’s my opinion that the only way we’ll stop the women of this country facing and suffering any future intolerable atrocities levelled at them, is to focus all of our efforts, services and resources around implementing prevention, as opposed to constantly reverting to the tenacious tendency of blaming the victim for causing her own misfortune.


Helping Roscommon’s needy kitties this Christmas


‘Tis the season of caring and sharing, and you may have noticed there are a lot of fundraising charity events happening around the county at the moment. Well, if I could be so bold as to point readers in the direction of a fantastic little local charity called TNR South Roscommon, who are holding a fundraiser on Sunday, 2nd of December in the Athleague Community Centre from 11 am to 3 pm. 

  TNR South Roscommon is a group of wonderfully dedicated volunteers who help homeless kitty cats in the Roscommon and Athleague areas. They do tremendous work by making their meagre funds and resources stretch towards humanely trapping and neutering, as well as providing vital veterinary health checks and vaccinations for these vulnerable feral cats, before returning them to their natural habitat where they can live their lives without further reproducing, thus stabilising the population.

  TNR South Roscommon also carry out the successful rehoming of the gorgeous kittens they have lovingly managed to socialise ensuring they live their lives in a caring family environment instead of trying to survive on the streets where they’re exposed to an existence of poor health, hunger, neglect and abuse.

  So, if you’re looking for a unique Christmas gift, or just want to grab a coffee, a piece of cake and a friendly chat with a fellow kitty cat lover, do drop by and show TNR South Roscommon your support this kitty-mas; it will be most welcome.