Disability and Violence Against Women

Unfortunately, I have had one too many experiences with sexual violence against me. There have been instances in school where a few guys would slap my bottom but back then I wouldn’t think anything of it because I was a child back then but looking back on it, I have realised that I never consented to them touching me. The more I think about it, the more instances I have encountered from catcalling, to be followed into my estate by a group of men in a car where I had to have my boyfriend on the phone and keys in my hand as I ran as fast as I could. There was another instance where I was sitting in Blanchardstown shopping centre one day, where they used to have a fountain, typing away something for college. This is a place that I thought was safe as I have lived there for over 20 years and it’s a public space. But a guy walked up to me, knelt to where I was, grabbed my face and tried to kiss me for only I turned my head away and eventually two girls pulled him off me. I had no idea who he was and to be honest I was quite shaken afterwards.

I have had many other instances like these happen to me over the years. Most of them happen in the daytime. This angers me so much because I should not have to rely on my boyfriend or a male figure to have to feel protected out in public. I am so terrified that something is going to happen to me one day that I have now put an SOS messaging system on my phone that will send a text, a photo, and a recording to my boyfriend if I am in danger. I wake up every day in fear when I leave the house because I never know like Ashling the day, I decide to do something will be my last.

It angers me that the Irish system for these types of crimes or allegations is broken. Men who do these things to women never serve a long enough sentence or the women are blamed because we wore a certain outfit or looked at a man in a funny way. For example, I am not going to apologise for trying to look good for myself or for having to wear leggings to work because they are comfortable. It outright angers me, and something needs to be done before this continues anymore. It’s not women’s fault, so stop blaming us!

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