27-year-old believes ‘violence against women is a pandemic’
A Wicklow woman has spoken out about a terrifying ordeal in which a man tried to get into her car while she was stopped at a red light in Dublin over the weekend.
Becky Lyons (27) was driving through Dundrum at 10.30pm on Saturday night when she stopped at a red light and noticed the vehicle behind her pulled forward to park next to her.
Ms Lyons said one of the men in the vehicle then reached his arm out the window in an attempt to open her passenger door. He was accompanied by three other men, and they were driving a jeep-style vehicle.
Speaking to Independent.ie, Ms Lyons said she was “hysterical" after the incident.
“The sick irony of it was I was actually at a vigil for Ashling Murphy in Sandymount that night with my boyfriend. I was driving home from his apartment from Dundrum and it’s an area that I know so well,” she said.
“I was just coming up to a junction and then a red light and a car was behind me.
"I didn’t think anything of that. They indicated like they were going to go left and what caught my attention was how close they were to my car.
“I thought they were going to scratch my car and that’s what caught my attention. I didn’t think anything of it until I saw in the back passenger side a man leaning out of the window trying to open my front passenger door, screaming ‘any room in there for us love’.
“There were four of them in the car and they were just so excited, that’s the thing that sticks with me,” she said.
Ms Lyons said she was “hysterical” driving home after the ordeal, thinking about what could have happened if her doors were unlocked.
“It gave me chills.
"The best-case scenario is that they were just trying to scare me but then there’s that worst-case scenario.
“I just booted it. I was hysterical driving home. I was genuinely so terrified and thought they would find me if I pulled in.
"All I could think to do was just get home.
”I just know that area so well and you always know there’s a threat there, but you never think it’s in your own backyard.”
Ms Lyons is a nutritionist and is currently undertaking a MSc in Dietetics at University College Dublin.
She said she has always locked her doors while driving since she got her licence 10 years ago: “I started driving when I was 17 and my mum’s first saying when she was getting me to drive was ‘you always lock your doors’, and I do it without thinking.
"Your heart races until your doors are locked.”
Ms Lyons said violence against women is a pandemic and starts with “seemingly harmless” behaviour.
“We know that it’s ‘not all men’. I myself am surrounded by incredibly kind, sensitive men, such as my boyfriend, family members, friends and work colleagues. But it doesn’t matter that not all men are like that because sadly there are so many who are and who accept it.
“Ultimately, I feel a duty to speak about this. Violence against women is a pandemic. And it’s a spectrum. It starts with seemingly ‘harmless’ behaviour we grow up with, the demeaning comments, the cat calling, boys picking on girls because they like them, the horns being beeped at us, the unwanted touches.
“These acts all pave the way to more violent expressions towards women such as attempted and committed physical and sexual assaults, rape and murder.
"This cannot continue,” she said.