Sir, – On February 19th, in The Ticket, Eoin Butler wrote: "The 471st single culled from Hozier's 2014 debut album comes with a video starring Dublin's very own Saoirse Ronan that will definitely change your whole perspective on the issue of domestic violence. (It's a bad thing, apparently.)"
With those 37 words, he minimised the horrific reality faced every day by thousands of women and children in Ireland. With those 37 words, whether or not intended to, he managed to trivialise men’s violence against women: “a bad thing, apparently”.
I understand this was a “joke”, as Eoin Butler has said on Twitter, however his defence that it wasn’t to be “taken literally” (again, on Twitter) not only speaks to a culture of joking but misses the point of #FaceUpToDomesticViolence campaign. A recent Red C poll tells us that 72 per cent of people say what they know about domestic violence is informed by the media. That includes perpetrators, bystanders and survivors. They are all members of our society, they work with us, their children go to our children’s schools and they read the same papers as us and listen to the same music. We must break the culture of trivialising the reality and consequences of domestic violence – it is a widespread systematic social problem and we all have a role to play to make Ireland the safest place for women and children.
We need more men like Hozier to stand against violence rather than shrug his shoulders. To challenge our ideas about domestic violence rather than trivialise the issue. Social change depends on a culture where abusive behaviour is not just understood as unacceptable, but is said to be unacceptable.
Powerful men and women in our society with a voice through the media can help to make this change to people’s thinking.
How disappointing, then, that Eoin Butler should react to this homegrown campaign not with pride but with casual cynicism. His remarks, whether intended or not, deride the efforts of the campaign and the people working to make Ireland and the world a safer place for women and children. That, in our view, is a bad thing – no “apparently” about it. – Yours, etc,
Unit 5 Centre Court,
Blyry Business Park,