Men urged to join fight against abuse

 

A NEW alliance has been set up to involve Irish men in a campaign to end violence against women.

The Men’s Development Network has joined the Rape Crisis Network and Safe Ireland, the representative group for domestic violence services, in the new alliance, which will be known as The Other Half.

Sharon O’Halloran, director of Safe Ireland, said while some men abused women, all men could help end the violence.

“The vast majority of men are not perpetrators of violence and are concerned for the safety of the women they care about. They are potentially powerful allies and activists against violence,” she said.

Alan O’Neill, director of the Men’s Development Network, said men had largely ignored the issue of violence against women, and had opted out of being part of the solution.

“In our experience, men ignore violence for fear of being identified as being perpetrators or for fear of saying the wrong thing,” he said. “Also, men have been excluded to date from the work to end violence for very practical reasons – they are the perpetrators in the large majority of cases. While we can never forget that men are the problem, we must also recognise that men can be a part of the solution.”

Fiona Neary, director of the Rape Crisis Network, said the alliance would be asking Irish men not to commit violence, not to condone violence, and to speak out in the face of violence. She said violence against women had been largely tackled by women and had been seen as a women’s issue.

The alliance will launch a national campaign later in the autumn.