3 April, 2018 12:28

In Awe of Mná…
Since I wrote the piece last Wednesday, I’ve been contacted by so many survivors of sexual abuse, I also had clients privately discuss their horrific experiences with me. Women who had been triggered by the verdict & the horrific undertones it implied.
The truth is we are not having enough conversations about consent. The criminal justice system needs an overhaul in the way a rape case is tried due to the intimate & graphic nature of the crime. The statistics on women coming forward to report rapes are shocking. Less then 10% of women. Then a further 10% of that 10% leads to an actual conviction. These figures are from the rape crisis centre which would also admit that these findings are over ten years old as no recent survey has been done on sexual crime in Ireland in the last decade.
We need men to stand with us in solidarity, to speak out & be counted. There is a confusion among some that this movement is anti- men.
Let me be clear, this movement is anti- misogynistic, anti- patriarchal & anti sexist.
As women we also need to look at our pre-conceived judgements that we may be consciously or unconsciously projecting onto women who are raped.
In all my years writing pieces on Facebook I’ve never had to block so many or had my own personal / spiritual views attacked….by other women.
This mentality of….”she went on her own to that party…She must of led him on. She probably woke up & was mortified so decided to cry rape to save face.”
Trust me…no woman cries rape to save face. The harrowing accounts I’ve read & listened to in the last week, has given me a frightening insight into how brutal the criminal justice system is on rape victims. It’s incredibly difficult to get a conviction & if you’re “lucky” enough that your rapist pleads guilty you will be spared the stand, if not what follows…..well we’ve all had an insight into that gruelling process over the last few months. We need to support each other. We need to start listening.
There needs to be healthy conversations around sex & consent. This country is coming of age. We need to finally shake the shackles of Shame around sexual pleasure. That is women, enjoy sex. That we can discuss pleasure with our partners & not feel awkward. We need to be having conversations about feeling ready to have sex with a new partner.
If you’re not Irish you will not understand the massive hang up this country has around it. Centuries of Catholic guilt coupled with a government that aided & abetted a culture of repression on every aspect of a women’s basic human rights. My entire life’s purpose has been built around empowering men & women. As this skewed system Also has repressed Men’s mental health. Qualities such as sensitivity & compassion were viewed as a weakness. Men could not talk about their feelings for fear of being judged as somehow being lesser. Even to go to a therapist was seen as being somehow weak in character. Is it any wonder Ireland have such high suicide rates in young adult males.
We couldn’t approach each other without having enough alcohol in our systems as we did not possess the emotional intelligence to articulate our feelings. Women were meant to be chaste, ‘good girls’ don’t go to house parties with strangers.
Our attitudes are two tiered. If a man sleeps around, he’s admired. A woman is a slut. There is no bad language / label for a promiscuous man. We will be here all day if we get started on the derogatory terms for a promiscuous woman…
The Rape crisis centre in Dublin has received over €25K in donations since last Wednesday.
All of us, men & women- society are coming together to effect change. Survivors you are the warriors who are leading the way. The stories you have shared this last week have changed me profoundly as a person. I have examined my own prejudices, I’ve had awkward conversations, I’ve challenged preconceptions. There is toxic femininity as well as toxic masculinity.
I’ve heard personal accounts this week of a very drunk young woman being left by her friends as she “wasn’t their problem”. Luckily a young man who knew her came to her aid to get her home safely.
The point is we need to charter these seas of uncertainty together. We need to discuss what feels right, for our bodies & our minds. We need to rise from the mire of presumption. In order to truly listen, We must first start using our voices to speak..

©️Fiona Ní Mhuirri

By Fiona Faery

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