So, here we are again. Today is the 108th International Women’s Day and while we have made huge strides in some areas, we have a very long way to go.
Much has been written in the lead up to today. And much of it grim. I won’t even go into the Tuam babies horror here. To mark the day I thought I’d post a compilation of important pieces about how women are (still) being treated in the 21st century. It’s not terrifically cheery reading so you might want to stop now. I understand, I really do.
Some people are saying that the allegations about UCD male students posting “revenge porn” in a Facebook group with over 200 members is ‘unbelievable’. And as it turns out, the allegations went unsupported, there is no first hand evidence to support the claims.
For so many though, the story was totally believable. Some people still believe it, thinking – well can’t the evidence be deleted? Isn’t there sufficient shame around sexuality and sex crime to prevent victims from coming forward when invited, encouraged even?
One major piece that this has highlighted for me is this question: what made this story so believable? And I feel it’s because this happens now, we all know it. For any of us to say otherwise at this point is somewhat naive.
“Is our relationship healthy? Is it normal? Are we OK?”
These questions come up all the time in therapy – actually, if you’re lucky, they come up over coffee with friends! You’ve maybe had those conversations, praying that your friends will say “Ya! – we fight more than you do actually – you have it sown UP compared to us!”.
This is my response to figures published today by the Rape Crisis Network. I refer in particular to the disturbing statistic that nearly 40% of sexual assaults of minors in Ireland are committed by under-18s. The Rape Crisis Network’s website is here if you want to view this and other reports.
Part of my job as a Counselling Psychologist and psychotherapist is to provide sex education to groups of teenagers. This morning, during a discussion of yesterday’s Irish Examiner story looking at the effects of teen exposure to pornography, I was asked by a 16 year old male student to explain the different kinds of rape.
The lenience with which sexual predators and rapists are treated by Irish judges always astounds me. The most recent was this week, in July 2012, where a six year sentence was handed down with five and a half years inexplicably suspended by Judge Hogan. There are more judgements to see here. I find this offensive, and I know that this system of ‘justice’ is precisely what has, and what will continue to deter women from reporting crimes against them. (more…)
I wrote this in The Irish Times in response to figures published 15 years ago (!! ) on rape in Ireland. I work with women and children who have been raped and sexually assaulted – it is something about which I feel very strongly. And as I read it today, the week of the Tuam babies revelations, International Women’s Day 2017, I find myself wondering if anything has really changed?