Street safety remains a concern for women in Galway

By Maureen Breslin

Women’s Safety in Galway

The recent murder of 33-year-old, Sarah Everard, in London has sparked a conversation among women about harassment and violence on Irish streets.

Galway Pulse spoke to several women about their experiences in the streets of Galway.

Sarah Everard was killed, despite the many precautions she took to stay safe, while simply walking home from her friend’s house.

Women in Galway have described taking these same precautions and being frustrated with the state of women’s safety in the city and the harassment they continue to face.

A third-year student at NUI Galway, named Neasa Gorrell, highlighted some of her experiences with harassment in Galway, particularly with taxi drivers.

“If you do get into a taxi alone- try to avoid that if you can- but if you have to take it alone, ring a friend, don’t be alone,” she said.

In a tweet, Ms Gorrell also shared a degrading exchange she had with a taxi driver in the past, which has made her wary of taxis in Galway. She explained in the tweet that the man wanted to know “which house was hers” and would not allow her to exit the taxi until she told him. He also said to Neasa Gorrell that she could “pay the fare with sexual favors”.

Another woman, Amy McCrossan, told of all of the precautions she takes when going out by herself in Galway. She explains that she does not wear ponytails in case someone grabs her by it, that she walks with broadened shoulders to seem more masculine to prevent her from seeming like “an easy target”, and that she only uses one earbud when walking by herself. Amy also said that she does not wear a skirt when out at night and that she wears runners instead of heels.

Amy expressed sadness that she was able to make such a long list of precautions, which she feels she must take when going out as a woman. She stated that she finds the situation “terrifying”.

A young woman, who does not want to be named, has also spoke out about her worries for women experiencing sexual harassment, which she has seen ample of in Galway.

She said that, similarly to Amy, she is “anxious all night about how I’m going to get home,” and on her way home that she is “worried that something may happen, even if I’m not murdered, it could be anything else,” and she is thinking about who will walk home with her.

“One time I ran home in Galway. Someone seemed to be following me and I ran the thirty-minute way home.”

Stories like these from women in Galway are not few and far between. In the private Facebook group, What’s on in Galway, many women expressed concern following Sarah Everard’s public disappearance and murder. They shared similar accounts of feeling unsafe and wanting men to step up and do better.

The conversation sparked debate in the group as some brought forth the #NotAllMen argument, and others grew angered at that response. Ultimately, the post became so heated that the moderators had to remove the discussion entirely.

The topic of women’s safety on the streets continues to be a pressing issue. Reclaim the Streets protests have taken place in Galway and all over Ireland to promote safety for women and to speak out against gender-based violence.

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault or harassment, please contact Galway RCC at
1-800-355-355 or go to their website for help.

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