Women's Aid Federation Northern Ireland

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06th June 2001



Violence against women at a horrifying level

Reported incidents this week have again brutally illustrated that violence against women is at a horrifying level.

The murder of a mother by incinerating her with petrol in Kilkeel, the rape and assault of a woman by a teenage gang and left lying in a Belfast street in the early hours, should have the whole community asking questions about this barbarous behaviour by men and how to prevent it. Instead, we have had a plethora of reported comments about the women’s behaviour, which has the effect of seeming to explain, justify or even blame the victims.

There is no excuse for any violence in the home or in the streets. We urge the media, church leaders, politicians, other professionals involved and the general public to become more actively engaged in the campaigns against violence against women and in Women’s Aid.

Learn more about how you can become involved in preventing such tragedies. There are no quick fix solutions of course, but there will be no long term ones either unless the community takes action. And we will continue to reap the consequences of inaction against violence against women. These are domestic murders, attempted murder, manslaughter, serious injury, hospitalization, mental breakdown, disability, homelessness, substance abuse, abuse of children, rape and sexual abuse, living in anxiety, depression, child neglect and failure to thrive. The British Crime Survey indicates that 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence at some point in their lives.

Effective campaigns in other jurisdictions recognize the folly of explaining away, minimizing and denying domestic violence and the consequences of doing so.

We will become increasingly powerless to prevent this and all the other violence’s which plague our communities. Our values are first learned at home. We must learn to protect women and children there, and then they may also be safe on the streets.

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