Tuairiscíonn Shane MacDomhnaill maidir le tuairimí mná faoina shábháilteach phearsanta i ndiaidh droch-thréimhse i sochaí na h-Éireann.
Pléifidh an alt seo maidir le ionsaí ghnéasach agus ciapadh.
Droch-thréimhse atá ann i gcomhthéacs sochaí na tíre seo le déanaí. Ar an 12ú Eanair, dúnmharaíodh Ashling Murphy, múinteoir bunscoile san Tullach Mhór agus í ag rith ar bhruach na Canáile Mhóire. Ionsaí i lár an lae a bhí ann, thart ar 4:00i.n, agus é fós geal lasmuigh. Tá an dunmharú seo i ndiaidh suaitheadh a chuir ar muintir na tíre, mná na tíre ach go h-áirithe. Tá an eachtra i ndiaidh comhrá dáiríre a ath-oscailt (comhrá nar dhúnadh riamh) maidir le conas a gcaitheann fir le mná go chomónta, agus cad a bhfuil agus nach bhfuil inglactha. Tá sé éasca a rá gur duine aonarach a rinne an dunmharú seo: gur duine tinn a bhí ann; gur duine le droch-mheabharghalair a bhí ann; gur eisceacht den riail ginearálta a bhí ann. Ach níl sé sin fíor. Ní féidir ach tabhairt faoi éísteacht le mná agus le cailíní chun a taithí a chloisteáil.
Is fear mé agus, cé nach bhfuil agus nár chóir dom a bheith i lár an aonaigh sa chomhrá seo, tá freagracht faoi leith agam fós. Ba mhaith liom cluas éisteachta a dhíriú i dtreo mná na tíre seo agus gan an chluas sin a chuir ar strae. Ní féidir a dhéanamh anseo ach éisteacht, agus gníomhú de bharr na h-éisteachta sin. Le seachtain anuas, d’fhreagair mná éagsúl ceisteanna maidir lena taithí ar an gcampas agus lasmuigh de; conas a phléadh leo i leith gearrán de bharr eachtraí faoi leith; agus cad a cheapann siad faoi freagra na tíre i ndiaidh dúnmharú Ashling Murphy. Na ceisteanna a leanas, freagraíodh trí Bhéarla iad, agus ar eagla botúin aistriúcháin a sheachaint, d’fhág mé as Béarla iad. Is cuma sin: i nGaeilge nó i mBéarla, is an sliabh céanna atá le dhreapadh againn uilig. Theastaigh uaidh roinnt mná go mbeidis anaithnid san alt seo, ach ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a léiriú do gach éinne a labhair liom don alt seo.
Anaithnid: “I lived on campus in my first year of college. One night out, my housemates & I got a taxi home leaving our neighbour & her friend to get a second taxi. Two lads said they were also going to UCD & hopped into the taxi with them. On the way back these men got very pushy with the girls & insisted on walking them home. Thankfully my household was still awake & the girls were smart enough to bring them to our door instead. They came in & it became apparent very quickly these men were on drugs & acting very erratic. They wouldn’t leave, one of them got aggressive & we called the campus security number to get help. We explained that the girls had been followed home, that they wouldn’t leave and that as we were all girls & these were two large young men - we were scared. It took over 30minutes to get a UCD official at our door (a young, small female RA) and in the meantime we were able to contact another neighbouring friend (male) who came over to help us. The RA with the help of the neighbour managed to talk the two men out of our apartment & escorted them off campus. She then came back to 1) let us know they had been walked off campus and 2) reprimand us for having people in our apartment past curfew. While she did the best she could in the situation, it’s unacceptable that she was put in that situation and that faster & more suitable assistance wasn’t available. What’s the point of campus security if they don’t respond appropriately to reports? They clearly didn’t take our call seriously despite us explaining the situation. I’m lucky our neighbour was there to help us and UCD are lucky the situation diffused because it could have gone so much worse.”
Deb Marshall: “I think UCD is generally safe enough, although once I had a group of four guys on bikes who followed me while I walked off campus. They were laughing to themselves, saying things like “will you meet my friend” “you wanna go back to my apartment?” One of them actually got off his bike and put his arm around me. It was so uncomfortable. It was when I was going home in summertime around 4/5pm and it was still super light out and there were a ton of people around.”
Carol Gaffney: “I attended UCD from 2004-2008 and lived very near the Clonskeagh entrance. Coming up to exams, if I stayed studying at the library until closing time I would always ask UCD security to walk me to the gate as I didn’t feel safe walking on my own at that hour.”
Tá sé soiléir go bhfuil droch-mheas mharfach do mhná againn in Éireann, agus is léiriúcháin é dúnmharú Ashling Murphy den droch-mheas sin.
Anaithnid: “I’m in a masters at the moment, been in UCD for 5 years altogether, myself and my friend were sitting at the lake having lunch when a man approached us, he sat beside us quite close which with covid we were freaked, he kept asking questions about our course, if he could join our course, how we were getting home etc, he wrote everything we said into his phone, when I noticed that I said we needed to go, he told us he was going to go to the bus stop with us so I said we’re going to the bathroom to which he replied he would follow us there. He stood outside the door. At that point we looked for help off other girls in the bathroom. When he saw us in a group he left. We took a description of him and went straight to the security man in Newman. The security man called his supervisor when he arrived. We described the man, and he looked at us as if we should tell him what to do, he said he’d report the situation. After this we informed our student advisor who provided great support and empathy to the situation. After a week or so we informed the estate services security who made us aware that the security man in Newman had not reported the incident like he said he would. We were unable to get in contact with someone in estate services for a while as they left our meeting to go to an emergency situation. We ended up leaving it as they never contacted us again to reschedule and it was more hassle than it was worth. All security were men and it felt like they didn’t find the situation to be a priority. I expected to be sat down, give a description of the man, identify him on cctv, something proactive. This man was definitely not a student as he had no books, no student ID and no bag. He wandered in to find someone to follow home. In broad daylight.”
Anaithnid: “I'm a Mum of a fourth year student who worked in the UCD sports/leisure centre for about a year & a half. If my girl was doing the evening shift, she had to head out at midnight to the sports pitches to turn off the lights (dark, cold, quiet particularly on winter nights), by herself. I was horrified when she told me this. I appealed to her to speak to her manager and request that a second person accompany her. Although my girl agreed it was potentially dangerous, she felt that if she approached the management, she would lose her job."
Anaithnid: “Self defence classes don’t work. I went to an all girls school & we had mandatory defence classes in 4th year. The man who taught them went through all the soft/ vulnerable points and ended by saying to never stop & fight - that the best self defence is to run far far away. I’m a 150lb athlete who weightlifts regularly. I’m strong for a girl. It is highly unlikely that without high level martial art training I could overpower any man (untrained or not)."
Ireland is not a safe place for women & has never been. I don’t know a single woman who hasn’t been harassed in some way & I don’t know anyone who can say the government, guards, or any relevant authorities have done anything concrete or remotely helpful.”
Heather Slevin: “I think that fact that I am expected as a woman to not only not go out in the dark alone, dress 'responsibly' and have to drink little to avoid an inevitable attack, and then on top of this I am now expected to have to defend myself; pay for classes, buy panic buttons, install safety apps, is absolutely horrid and disrespectful. The responsibity is then on myself to prevent myself from rape or murder, and not at all on the likes of the Garda or the government. Why should I have to use my own money to buy items in a feeble attempt to prevent a man from attacking me, and why isn't the government doing anything to stop these attacks from happening at all?”
Isabella Ambrosio: “I've been stalked, harassed and sexually assaulted by the same man. The assault came first, then the harassment, and then the stalking. It's beyond feeling unsafe. It causes you to be in this survival mode, a state of mind where you don't feel like a human being, you feel like an animal that's being preyed on. You are dehumanised, because your words and your boundaries mean absolutely nothing to the perpetrator. He doesn't attend UCD, but it got to the point that I felt unsafe being on campus, because he knew every detail of my life. He could've shown up at any point. There's no way to verify if someone on campus is from UCD or not, he could've walked onto campus at any point. It doesn't matter if any kind of harassment or incidents occur on campus or not, they're bound to affect the way you look at the area around you.”
Ciara Ní hAonghusa: “I am completely floored, once again by people placing the responsibility on women. I have seen people looking for self defence classes, businesses promoting whistles that have the slogan 'stylishly safe' on them. I have seen men telling women we need to do this, that, so many things to protect ourselves. When my mum knows I'm walking home she reminds me to keep the door opener I have on my keys in my hand, as though that will deter anyone.”
Tá sé soiléir go bhfuil droch-mheas mharfach do mhná againn in Éireann, agus is léiriúcháin é dúnmharú Ashling Murphy den droch-mheas sin, nach raibh ag teastáil mar fiannaise, ach is fiannaise é in aon chaoi. Tithí Máithreach agus Leanaí; Neachtlann Magdalene; CervicalCheck; Trial Éigniú na h-imreoirí Rugbaí Uladh agus iliomad samplaí eile. Agus chun tús a chuir le blian nua, maraíodh Ashling Murphy i lár an lae in eachtra nach gceapfá go bhfeicfeá riamh. Ní hé an ceist “an bhfuil droch mheoin againn sa tír seo i leith mná” a thuilleadh, an ceist na “cad a dhéanfaimid anois chun deireadh a chuir leis an mheoin sin?”
Ní chóir go mbeidh orainn “samhlaigh más do mháthair, do dheirfiúr, do bhean céile nó do chara a bhí ann” a rá ionas go léireofá meas chomónta do mhná eile. Ba chóir go mbeidh sé inglactha go gcaithfimis le gach éinne leis an meas agus leis an cothromaíocht céanna. Níor mhaith liom go bhfuil orm dul agus droch-thaithí mná na tíre seo a chloisteáil ag lámha fir. Níor chóir go mbeidh orthu na taithí sin a roinnt liom. Ach tá. Tá gá leis mar go bhfuil sé ag tárlú fós agus tá sé ag tárlú go bhforleathan.
Ní fhéadfainn a líomhnú go bhfuil mise foirfe, nach bhfuil mé ciontach ó thaobh an droch-mheoin céanna sna laethanta atá thart. Ach táim ag déanamh iarracht - traen-iarracht - na meoin neamh-chomfhiosach atá sáite, áit éigin, in intinn fir a chuir díom. Ní féidir liom ach an méid sin a dhéanamh, agus cuntasaíocht a léiriú dom fhéin agus dóibh siúd timpeall orm.
Ní ghá go dtárlódh sé seo. Ní chóir go dtárlódh sé seo. Ná tárlódh sé seo arís.
Más é go raibh tionchar ag ábhar an ailt seo ortsa, nó ar chara leat, molfar duit teagmháil a dhéanamh le na gréasán tacaíochta atá ar fáil:
Women’s Aid 1800341900 www.womensaid.ie
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre 1800 77 8888 www.drccie