My message to domestic violence victims at this time by Miriam Kerins …
Domestic violence is a high impact, high volume crime, the incidence of which is escalating to an alarming degree during this Covid-19 lockdown situation, leaving many families in a highly vulnerable position. Therefore, if you’re in a violent relationship and are reading this, please remember, you’re not alone. Help is available to you. And yes, I do understand that liberating yourself from an abusive relationship isn’t easy, in fact, it’s possibly one of the hardest and bravest decisions you’ll ever have to make; but remember, you deserve your freedom. You’ve got a right to live your life unshackled to that despicable empty husk who’s controlling your finances, who’s psychologically beating you down, and who’s physically harming you.
I’m fully cognisant of the fact that while the majority of our citizens are staying home in order to try and stop the spread of coronavirus, (and hopefully save lives), that these very measures are placing you, a reader imprisoned in an abusive environment, at an increased risk. You’re in lockdown and living under his/her brutal and terrifying regime. You’re confused, and mostly, you’re torn; because it’s likely you still love this tyrannical, controlling coercive despot. I do get it; I know how you feel duty-bound and that you genuinely still have feelings for him/her. I also get how difficult it is to see someone we love acting in a harmful and unhealthy manner, and I understand you yearn to help them…but please listen to me when I say that your love, no matter how well-intentioned, will not stop the abuse. Your love will not stop him/her harming you. You cannot ‘save’ them by loving them. But you can save yourself, and, if you have children, you can save them too. So please, this weekend, try to be extremely brave and reach out and seek the support you so richly deserve.
Remember, you have legal protections available to you under the Domestic Violence Act, which, (as of January 2019) now makes provisions for those being abused in a coercive controlling relationship. This pernicious and highly ruinous behaviour, (one of the more hidden aspects of an abusive, intimate relationship), is now not just an offence, it’s a deeply destructive and very personal crime against you, the victim, who is being deliberately psychologically degraded by your abuser. An Garda Síochána will take this very seriously and will respond ‘very quickly and robustly’ if someone in your home is causing you fear, distress, significant alarm, or if their behaviour is having an injurious impact on your daily life, be that physical, psychological, financial or sexual. I want to remind readers that Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has explained that the two kilometre curtailment does not apply to anyone who needs to seek help.
In addition, officers are providing an initiative to those who’ve previously been in touch with them regarding domestic violence, and have implemented Operation Faoisimh to address this critical period in some families’ lives; so, at the risk of repeating myself, reach out to them. Remember too, the Courts Service and the Legal Aid Board are prioritising all cases of domestic violence and childcare issues. So to those cowardly abusers who may be thinking this health emergency is giving them the perfect excuse to mistreat, suppress, exploit, injure or harm another human being, my advice is to think again. Under no circumstance will your brutality be tolerated. Get it?
* Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900; Log on to: www.womensaid.ie. In an emergency, call 999 or 112.
Rossie raises funds for charity with virtual quiz
If Rossies are wondering how they can help charities who, (due to the Covid-19 outbreak and restrictions), are finding it increasingly difficult to raise funds, then why not throw some support behind local man Will Keane who has been hosting live fundraising events on Facebook!
This caring gentleman, who has already hosted kitchen table quizzes on the social media site in support of the Irish Cancer Society, Crumlin Children’s Hospital and Women’s Aid, (introducing ‘fun themes’ such as The Mad Hatter and Father Ted), is planning to make this a weekly event. Speaking on Shannonside Northern Sound last week, Will said he was “trying to focus on charities who’re on the frontline”. If readers want to join in this Friday, I imagine doing a quick Google search for ‘Facebook Live Kitchen Table Quiz,’ will set you on the right track. Well done Will!
While I’m at it folks…
Do any of you get the irony that, even as you’re well into your adult years, you are, like me, ringing your parents twice a day to make sure they haven’t left the house? And, is anyone else finding it difficult to end a, dare I say, boring phone conversation? I mean, you can’t exactly lie and say, “Sorry, have to run”. Where?
Stay safe, stay smiling, and if your productivity goals for this week are…get up, put clothes on, forensically wash hands, disinfect all surfaces, stay virus-free, and do a daily two kilometre walk, then so be it. Remember, keeping within the realms of those simple guidelines makes you a responsible adult. If we all follow this routine we’ll have this virus licked in no time!