Gender-violence protests highlight women’s lack of freedom

The Liberty spoke to former Solidarity TD, Ruth Coppinger, after the recent ‘stand-outs’ held in Dublin and other Irish cities, following the murder of Sarah Everard in England last month. 

Protests against gender-based violence have been organised in Irish cities by by the campaigning organisation ROSA (Reproductive rights, against Oppression, Sexism and Austerity).

“ROSA organised the protests because of revelations made about women’s freedom, after Sarah Everard’s murder. We put on self-imposed restrictions in the name of safety,” says former Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger.

“In my opinion, you can’t ban protests because of a pandemic, especially considering this is another one. It is also evident in all areas of society, it’s systemic,” Coppinger says.

The United Nations has called gender violence a ‘shadow pandemic’. More than four in five young women in a British survey said they had been sexually harassed.

Society encourages gender violence  through ‘macho’ expectations on men, victim blaming and the objectification of women, Coppinger says.

“Classes on toxic relationships and resources available to those who need an escape should be mandatory across the country.”


“Rape crisis centres shouldn’t have to rely on charity to survive,” Coppinger says. “The racehorse and greyhound industries get much more support.”

Coppinger was referring to a motion to increase Government funding for the Greyhound Industry to €19.2 million for 2021, passed in November of last year. 

“Classes on consent, toxic relationships and resources available to those who need an escape should be mandatory across the country,” she says. 

According to Women’s Aid, one in every seven Irish women has experienced domestic violence at one stage in her life, in comparison to one in 17 men. 

Women’s Aid also noted that “90% of the more systematic, persistent and injurious violence that is instrumental in the maintenance of power, is perpetrated by men”.

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee, has said she is  “committed to tackling all forms of domestic, sexual and gender based violence. We will protect and support the victims of such crimes for the duration of their journey through the criminal justice system.”

The Minister referenced the Justice Plan 2021, which aims to improve support and aid for victims of domestic, gender-based and sexual violence across the country. 

Photo courtesy: Limerick ROSA Facebook Page

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