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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Domestic violence leaves aura of shame, says Miriam

Miriam O'Callaghan with FAI chief John Delaney and Men Development's Network CEO Alan O'Neill at the launch of the White Ribbon campaign.
Miriam O'Callaghan with FAI chief John Delaney and Men Development's Network CEO Alan O'Neill at the launch of the White Ribbon campaign.

Eimear Rabbitte

RTE broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan believes that an aura of "shame" still exists in Ireland for women who experience violence at the hands of their partners.

According to the mother of eight, many women in Ireland still suffer "in silence" because they are too afraid to speak out against their abusers.

The 'Prime Time' presenter yesterday hosted the White Ribbon Day, calling for an end to men's violence against women in Ireland.

Research shows that one in five women in Ireland who have been in a relationship have experienced abuse at the hands of a current or former partner.

RECESSION

"I think a lot of women are very silent about their abuse because they feel that there is still a lot of shame in it," Ms O'Callaghan told the Irish Independent.

"Statistics show that it has grown with the recession, but at the same time many women don't report it because they are afraid to.

"The cause is still very close to my heart," added Ms O'Callaghan, who started her career as a young lawyer working with women who were victims of violence.

However, the 53-year-old also disagreed with the stereotype that men are more angry and violent than women.

"I have sons who are just as kind as my daughters," said Ms O'Callaghan. "They are not naturally predisposed to being mean or violent, so it's just about fairness.

"My advice to anyone would be to never use violence against anyone in any circumstance," she added.

Organised by the Men's Development Network (MDN), yesterday's White Ribbon Day was attended by men from the worlds of sport, business, and politics, including FAI chief executive John Delaney and Junior Minister Brian Hayes, who launched the event.

"It is an important message to give out and something that is increasingly prevalent today so we need people to support it," Mr Delaney said.

Mr Hayes said that Ireland was still on a "learning curve" regarding the issue of violence against women.

"We must always be prepared to shine a light on domestic violence and violence against women," he said. "Having this conversation with ourselves and teaching it to younger men is the most crucial message to take from this campaign."

Alan O'Neill, CEO of MDN, said that violence against women remained on the increase.

"The recession has definitely seen a rise in violence against women, especially with the increase in stress on families and relationships."

Irish Independent

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