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City centre gathering held in tribute to Sarah Everard

Demonstrators turned out in Dublin city centre earlier for a “Reclaim the Streets” gathering organised by feminist group ROSA.

The standout was organised in tribute to Sarah Everard and took place despite a ban on gatherings under Level 5 restrictions.

Those attending attempted to stay two metres apart and all wore face masks.

Picture credit: Paul Reardon

Pic credit: Paul Reardon

 

Speaking earlier at the socially distant standout at the Spire, Dublin, Ruth Coppinger said:

“We are here today in grief and anger at the senseless killing of Sarah Everard and in solidarity with all victims and survivors of gender based violence.

“Sarah’s murder has unleashed a torrent of accounts from women of how restricted our lives are by the constant threat of harassment and assault.

“In a UK survey this week, 97% of young women reported experiencing sexual harassment, 80% in public spaces — so this is in plain sight throughout society and for too long seen as something women should just accept. But now women are not accepting it.

“ROSA welcomes the worldwide movement that’s developing against sexual harassment, gender violence and femicide.

“In Ireland, a USI / NUIG survey found 28% of women and non binary people had non consensual sex at college, I.e., rape. Yet consent is not taught throughout schools, colleges, workplaces and communities.

“This standout is an essential protest because during the pandemic, gender violence has soared worldwide and in Ireland calls to Gardai increased by 25% in one quarter and by 43% to Womens Aid hotline.

“It was already extremely difficult for women to leave abusive relationships due to lack of supports and a housing crisis, now they have no escape in lockdown. The pandemic has had a huge impact on women: on the frontlines, three times more likely to lose their job and also experiencing violence.

“It is society which normalises and excuses violence against women, non gender-conforming and transgender people.

“A macho culture, with objectification of women, victim blaming, slut shaming and rape myths is a lethal mix. Misogyny is particularly woven into the Irish state in health, welfare and the courts and as demonstrated by the mother and baby homes.

“As a system, capitalism legitimises those who have most power using violence against those who have least — be it for profit, resources or in personal relations. That is why ROSA is a socialist feminist movement that sees systemic change as necessary.

“But that does not excuse the inertia of the political establishment on this issue. We demand that gender violence is made a political priority with education throughout society, proper resourcing for rape crisis centres and refuges and a radical overhaul of the legal system which has multiple barriers to pursuing abusers.”

 

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