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Girls as young as 15 face domestic violence - report

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Emma Murphy has made the film about abusive partners

Emma Murphy has made the film about abusive partners

Emma Murphy has made the film about abusive partners

Girls as young as 15 are suffering violence from partners, a documentary examining domestic abuse in Ireland will show tonight.

Emma Murphy hopes the production, Emma Murphy Fights Back, which has been two years in the making, helps other women to speak about their experiences.

Ms Murphy made headlines in 2015 when, as a 26-year-old mother-of-two, she recorded a video and uploaded it after being punched in the face by her ex-partner, Francis Usanga, then aged 29.

She said she hoped the fact that she was a young woman would help people realise that domestic violence is not just an issue that arises in middle age.

Ms Murphy told how she found even schoolgirls were being subjected to violence.

"I really wanted to highlight domestic violence, but knowing that there's so many other factors around domestic violence," she told the Herald.

Emotional

"Some have the perception of domestic violence as physical, and I wanted to highlight the issues of emotional, mental abuse and financial abuse."

She added that the documentary shows different kinds of perpetrators and different kinds of abuse.

Explaining the length of time it took to make the film, Ms Murphy said they had to take a lot of care when speaking to vulnerable victims.

When she released her video in 2015, she was shocked by the reaction and by how big an issue domestic violence was.

"Obviously, I have a better understanding of it now, and I've studied it," she said.

"I'm a lot more aware. At the time I had no clue. Seeing the reactions of people made me want to find out more."

Ms Murphy believes that the issue was something that has been stigmatised.

"There's still a lot of victim-blaming that goes on," she said.

One person she spoke to for the documentary was Maria Dempsey, from Cork, whose daughter Alicia Brough (20) was murdered in 2010 by a friend's partner.

"Maria's strength really struck me, how she is getting through that. She's an amazing woman," Ms Murphy said.

As part of the documentary, she also spoke to Don Hennessy, a relationship councillor who believes the tactics of sexual abusers are the same as those used by paedophiles.

"That was a very interesting interview, and I suppose was shocked," she said.

According to statistics presented in the show, eight out of 10 women are not reporting their experiences.

Emma Murphy Fights Back is on RTE2 at 9.30pm


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