“Are you f*&king serious?” she asks me, looking at me in that angry / scared / amused way that only teens can do. I like this girl, this young woman. She’s valiant, honest and has a righteous rage.
I am serious I tell her. Really serious.
Moments earlier she’d whipped out her phone to show me an article that she read on the way to my office. The grim headline read: Ireland has the highest rate in Europe for young girls taking their own lives
And I had asked her why she thought this was the case.
I have a friend – well, I know and admire a woman who might yet be a friend – and this morning I woke to find an email from her in my inbox, with a recording attached. She’s a journalist and normally an email from her means she’s writing a piece and is interested in my professional opinion on the topic. We’ve been back and forth-ing for a couple of years and, as you do, we’ve been rearranging the boundaries a little more each time.
Yay us – what a year! A lot has happened this year. A lot of it really, really terrible. We’ve talked about Weinstein, #MeToo, Rape Culture, Porn, Women and the church, our own entertainment industry and its grim history of sexual misconduct. Our next challenges are to respectfully debate Repeal the 8th, to continue to #changetheconversation, to keep up the momentum of reform for ourselves, our partners, our children. It’s clear that terrible things have happened.
But on the other hand:
It’s been pretty harrowing listening to today’s coverage of the case of domestic violence that culminated in the murder of a young mother. The man, who strangled his wife and allegedly threatened to kill her on more than one occasion is pleading guilty to manslaughter, not to murder. That’s one issue I have with this case.
The real issue I have, closely related, is that nature of his reasoning – he says he was ‘provoked’.
It’s great to see a rapist be convicted and receive an actual sentence in Ireland. How sad that I am surprised and relieved.
HOWEVER, we really need to stop with the “no previous convictions” nonsense – which says nothing of a rapist’s character.
The rapist is a rapist – there’s his character right there.
So, here we are again. Every Year since 1908 we have celebrated 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 go into the Tuam babies thing here.. (2018 edit – Weinstein, #MeToo, Repeal the 8th debate, the women-being-ordained question, the sordid details of the rape (victim) trial, the pick-your-own-horror-story… ).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!”.
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.