If this stops even one man hitting his wife, that is enough for me
Published 15/05/2014 | 02:30
ON THE radio yesterday morning I spoke to a man whose son was attacked in Mullingar some years ago.
His name was Andrew Dolan and his dad, Joe, spoke with enormous dignity and admirable restraint about the horror of losing a son and having to go through the Irish judicial system while trying to remain both calm and sane.
I asked Joe what he wanted done, and he said he needed people like me to raise a voice for people like him, his family and for Andrew's generation.
I'm not a politician, but what little sway I have should be used as much as possible to raise awareness about Andrew's story and his family's dignified desire to stop senseless violence.
Within an hour, I was joined on the programme by Chris – who had been listening to Tuesday's show on 2fm where I had discussed an advertising campaign being run by the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre and Women's Aid.
Here was a man who admitted that 20 years ago, he regularly beat up his wife. I asked him how it felt to look at a woman he loved, cowering on the kitchen floor, looking up and asking him to stop.
I heard an explanation insofar as one can be given, but there are times in a broadcaster's time on the air when polite discourse simply doesn't apply.
I found myself becoming a little agitated but persisted in trying to get inside the mind of a man that beats up a woman.
Chris explained that he beat his wife so badly once that she ended up in hospital and despite a court appearance and trial (he was found guilty) he kept beating her.
At this point, I suggested that if he did this to any of the women in my life, I would go to his house and break both his legs.
It was a figure of speech but it came from the heart, the kind of thing I'd say in the pub. I realise violence should not beget violence but I don't regret what I said for a moment.
Having been a small part of a campaign called 'Man Up' some time ago, I met some of the women who are at the receiving end of domestic violence.
It sickened me to hear the stories of women who no longer lived in homes but in regimes. That cannot be acceptable.
While there are men who are also in abusive relationships, men need to take a lead. We live in a country that spent too long covering up too many crimes against children and against women.
I'm not sure what conversation was started yesterday but if awareness has been raised, if one man stops beating his wife, and if one woman has the courage to get help as a result, well that's a start and a start is good enough for me.