Galway women join forces to “reclaim the night”

Women should not leave their homes because men in their lives are being violent towards them.

That is according to Galway Mayor Colette Connelly, speaking yesterday at Reclaim the Night organised by NUIG Feminist Society.

A recent report by the Higher Education Authority showed that from the 5962 women surveyed, over one in three have experience sexual intercourse through coercion, incapacitation, force, or threat of force.

The one hour long march from Eyre Square to Spanish Arch, was aimed to showcase women’ anger and fear of walking alone at night.

Mayor of Galway Colette Connolly said that “in 21st century, lamentable, that we are here again, having to protest and to highlight the very threat to women’ safety”.

“Certainly women should not be leaving their homes because they their husband or their partner or their son is being violent towards them. The laws have to change. We have to afford women protection. This setting should be a safe environment for women. And we need to do a lot more to make that happen,” she said.

Footage by Robert Kindregan and editing by Aiza Saeed Akhtar

NUIG Feminist Society representative Aoife Burke said that gender based violence exists on a spectrum and every woman has a story that falls onto that spectrum.

“I think it’s important to recognize that women are far more likely to be killed or abused by their partner, by the person who was supposed to love them We know that 30% of women in Ireland have faced physical or emotional abuse from a partner and that has a whole other layer of trauma on top of the lack of safety and public space,” she said

Mental Health Jigsaw Youth Adviser Imogen O’ Flaherty said that the government should designate a person who could look after sexual assault and domestic violent issues and that they should fund rape crisis centres. She also said that education is “key here” to implement act of consent in schools.

“This march is a good visual representation, you see how many people came out in the mid of the rain and the hail stones and to show how many women are scared and how angry we are for the lack of action. And simply because enough is enough,” she said.

For more information about support groups against domestic violence you can visit www.copegalway.ie, www.domesticviolenceresponse.com and https://galwayrcc.ie.

For more Galway Pulse stories, click here.

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