abortion, feminism, feminist, gender, Ireland, misogyny, pro-choice, pro-life, Uncategorized, women

Let’s be Real, No-one Celebrates Abortion

On May 25th 2018, Ireland made history.

Less than two weeks ago, a majority voted to repeal the 8th Amendment from the Irish constitution, legalisng abortion in Ireland up to 12 weeks and beyond in exceptional circumstances.

Capture

Fig. 1: Irish Times exit poll prediction

I won’t lie, I rejoiced, I celebrated privately and via my social media accounts. I applauded Ireland’s decision to respect women’s autonomy and agency and wept with joy.

The Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Alphonsus Cullinan would have been disgusted with me. Fr Cullinan apparently didn’t pick up on the public distaste with the clergy’s involvement in the campaign; certainly, I spoke to countless Yes voters who specifically flinched at Church involvement and campaigning for the No Vote, many of whom cited Tuam and the Magdalene Laundries as enough cause for silence in these matters. I even spoke with several undecided and No voters who blanched at Church involvement.

But that isn’t the issue here; the issue, once again, is the habitual act of construing the act of celebration in the wake of the Yes vote:

“I was horrified to see the jumping and roaring and cheering in Dublin Castle last Saturday. How can you cheer about abortion?”

Cullinan, as so many before him, purposefully redefined the events in Dublin Castle as a celebration of abortion.

Let’s be real here though, no-one celebrates abortion. No-one toasts a cheers to that difficult decision or memorializes the occasion with photographs. Abortion is not an easy made resolution; I am sure (though I thankful have never been in the position) that is is anxiously agonized over. I know this because no-one I have spoken to would ever wish to be in that situation.

Rather, the women and men who stood in Dublin Castle celebrated women’s rights; like me, they rejoiced in the safety and care which Repeal demanded for all women in Ireland. They reveled with the proof that women’s agency and autonomy mattered to a two-thirds majority; that the 8th Amendment which rendered women’s bodies as vessels, as containers, as nothing more than baby makers, was no longer a representation of Ireland or its people.

What Cullinan deemed a celebration of abortion demeaned every woman who has ever had to make that decision, and take those difficult steps – often outside of Ireland, perhaps to back street, clandestine clinics, or in the privacy of their own homes with a pill and no supervision or even witness to their act. What Cullinan did, once again, was to attempt to shame the brave and the fearful women who have made that difficult choice.

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charity, Ireland, personal, Uncategorized

“Will Swim/Cycle/Run for Money” – Fund Raising for Charity

 

So this coming June my very dedicated and generous Brother-in-law Michael Garry will be taking part in Challenge Galway, his first ever full Triathlon – that’s a full 226KM distance split between swim, cycle and run! – and to celebrate the momentous event he is raising donations for charity!

The donations raised will be split between two deserving and amazing foundations here in Ireland – Temple Street Chidlren’s Hospital and St Brigid’s Hospice for Kildare and West Wicklow. In his own words, Mick is dedicating this to the memory of his late father, Michael Garry Senior and his young cousin Eamonn who tragically died in 2008 due to complications relating to Cerebral Palsy. Mick has a special relationship with both institutions, which cared for his father and cousin respectively and wants to ensure they can both continue their wonderful works.

If anyone is interested in donating, please do so through the following link, and, of course, I’ll be happy to provide an update come June when the event is over:

http://www.mycharity.ie/events/mick_garry/

Many thanks!

imageID_45139__imageTypeID_2.image

Ireland, race, racism, Uncategorized, violence

Racism Rife in Ireland

A recent report from the ENAR (Eire Network Against Racism) has revealed the extent of racial prejudice in Irish culture.

Released this very morning, the disconcerting report is already receiving mass attention from various media outlets. The report, headed by Dr Lucy Michael, explores the issue of “Afrophobia” in Ireland through the use of data from racist incident reporting system iReport.ie. The launch page for the report explains the term “Afrophobia” as denoting forms of global racism aimed specifically at people of African decent and further claims:

 In Ireland, as this report demonstrates, racism against people of African descent is not a new phenomenon at all, but one which has failed to be recognised by the State and wider society, even as it has evolved from colonial times. Afrophobia has contributed to the racialisation of Irish identities, both in Ireland and overseas, resonated with anti-Traveller racism at home, and found fertile ground in specific phenomena and events, for example in what Junior Minister for New Communities Aodhán Ó Ríordáinhas called “our love affair with incarcerating people” (from the Industrial Schools and Magdalene Laundries to Direct Provision), or in the political expediency manifest in the 2004 Citizenship Referendum. (ENAR Ireland)

A summary of the findings indicate that an approximate 30 percent of complaints submitted to iReport were incidences of racial harassment and threat against people of African descent; the harassment was commonly reported as taking place in public, specifically in/on public transport systems. Similarly, many of the complaints raised the concern of being knowingly under constant surveillance in public spaces.

But the threat is not only public; over half of the reports received and studied described instances of online abuse and racial threat, mainly on social networking sites where many people where individually targeted and harassed.

Many of those who reported incidents of racist abuse and harassment further recorded a disillusionment with Gardai services:

There are low levels of trust in An Garda Siochana to address and understand the impact of racist incidents, and to apply the definition of racist incidents adopted in 2001.

People of African descent experience worse outcomes from Garda involvement even where the racist incident is perpetrated against them and, should they confront the perpetrator, are more likely to be considered suspected of instigating the incident. (Report Summary)

Currently, the ENAR is urging An Gardai Siochana and other public bodies to implement a more stringent anti-racist discourse among staff, in order to encourage the official reporting and handling of both verbal and physical forms of racial violence and that an eventual change in legislature is required to protect these groups. For my part, I argue that better educational practices need to be established throughout primary schools, with the conversation being brought into the home as well. The Irish people need to be educated on issues of racism, their psychological and undermining effect in our society. The ENAR further encourages the need for a renewed national action plan to combat racism, and the time for that is now.

Links:

http://enarireland.org/afrophobia-in-ireland-racism-against-people-of-african-descent/

http://enarireland.org/enar-irelands-submission-on-integration-multiculturalism-and-combating-racism/

 

domestic violence, feminism, feminist, gender, misogyny, rape, strenght, violence, women

Violence Against Women: An EU Wide Survey

The first EU wide survey, by the European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights, has revealed some startling statistics regarding violence against women.

The research revealed that approximately eight per cent of Irish women experienced sexual violence since the age of 15; while the European average was 11 per cent. In terms of the Irish-based statistics, almost half (48 per cent) of Irish women experience sexual violence from a non-partner and, moreover, decided not to approach the authorities or any kind of support service afterwards. Two-thirds of these women emphasized that they did not go to authorities/support services because they felt prepared to handle the experience themselves or because the prepetrator was a friend/family member. 

Director of Rape Crisis Network Ireland Fiona Neary said:

This survey confirms that sexual violence against women and girls is pervasive and pandemic across Europe.

Yet, since 2009 funding for rape crisis frontline services has been cut by 16.5 per cent with further cuts planned for 2014. Neary continued: 

These cuts were to a sector that was already chronically under resourced and have been so unevenly distributed that in fact the centre with the lowest funding was cut by over 30%.

The visualisations below speak volumes:

atAGlance-VAW-1--Physical--sexual-and-psychological-violence-EU27-EU27-EN-740.entitled

 

Emotional response to the most serious incident of physical and/or sexual violence by a partner since the age of 15:

crossCountry-VAW-AllSubset-01--All-DVS_B01-EU27-EU27-EN-740.entitled

Experiencing any form of stalking from the age of 15:

euBars-VAW-AllSubset-01--All-DVS_D01-EN-740.entitled

 

In general, how common do think that violence against women is in your country:

crossCountry-VAW-AllSubset-01--All-DVS_H01-EU27-EU27-EN-740.entitled

Find the complete research here: http://fra.europa.eu/DVS/DVT/vaw.php

 

 

abuse, feminism, feminist, misogyny, rape, women

“We Have All Been Touched By Evil”

Trigger warning: rape, abuse, distress.

An Irish man has been handed down two consecutive life sentences for the rape and abuse of two young girls (age 6 and 9) in county Athlone, Ireland.

But this is not about him, or the political system. This isn’t even about justice being served.  This is about two young children, on the cusp of adolescence, who probably still enjoyed the sunshine, the sound of chains clanging on their bikes, and the laughter of their friends.

Their own supportive and grieving families came forward to the media with the following statements:

We have all been touched by this evil.

The youngest victim’s father has since stated that the families must now “live everyday” with this nightmare,  and that his daughter has since experienced severe anxiety, has difficulty sleeping, and sees “creepy men” everywhere.

Her mother emphasised:

Words cannot express my hurt, anger and pain. I feel I am living a nightmare I can’t wake up from

Justice Paul Carney, upon handing down the charge, stated that he found it “too upsetting to rehash the details,” such were the harrowing statements involved in the court case. But, once again, this is not about the court case, or the judge, or the details involved. The is about two little girls.

Those girls will never again experience the same innocence and trust in the world or in humankind. And how dare some selfish, inhumane excuse for a man take that away from them.  How dare anyone assume that kind of power over another human being. 

 

 

 

abortion, abuse, advice, feminism, feminist, misogyny, pro-choice, pro-life, Uncategorized, women

Ireland’s New Abortion Laws

After the tragedy that was Savita Halappanavar and child’s untimely deaths (the mother’s being more than preventable)  in 2012, the Irish government is finally inducting new laws which aim at protecting the life of the mother.

The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 will ensure that doctors can protect the life of the mother if the pregnancy poses “real and substantial” risks, including the threat of suicide.

The new laws seem even more essential after the Health Information and Quality Authority in October 2013   published a report detailing Savita’s case, and stating firmly and clearly that the Irish health system had failed in giving her the most basic of health treatments and therein preventing her death.

Yet, despite the obvious sense and humanity (especially concerning women) in the coming law, controversy continues to surround the much needed changes; one priest recently resigned from the board of a Catholic-owned hospital after they agreed to the new legislation while many more continue to protest and employ pro-life scare tactics, as seen in the image below and many of their (often false) publication and so-called “findings.”

0e1786185_tears-billboard-mk1

For me, the real question which needs to be asked here is whether this legislation is really enough? Of course, it is extremely significant in terms of protecting the mother and is a huge step for the pro-choice movement and Irish women in general; yet does it go far enough? The legislation, after all, does not protect the mother in cases of rape, incest, foetal abnormality, or inevitable miscarriage which does not affect the mother’s health (accept, of course, her own sense of self and mental health…). Article 40.3.3 which equates the mothers life with that of the unborn foetus does not permit abortion in these cases, although the right to travel remains within the mother’s constitutional rights. In the case of fatal foetal abnormalities, of the estimated 1,500 cases diagnosed in Ireland every year almost 80 per cent of these women will travel to Great Britain in order to obtain an abortion; meanwhile an estimated 4,000 Irish women traveled to Britain in 2012 for the same procedure.

Yet, the demonisation and attack on women who consider, have, or admit they have had an abortion remains pertinent even in our modern culture. Women are treated as unworthy of control over their own bodies; they are incapable of making mature, conscious, and truly aware decisions regarding their bodies; they are not granted complete recognition as a human being because women’s bodies are a public property and belong to a public who demonise abortion simply due to old world understandings, false accusations, scare tactics, and archaic religious beliefs.

Is this how women deserve to be treated?