Violence against women

Sir, – This has been a dark week for Ireland after the appalling and incomprehensible murder of Ashling Murphy, a beautiful young woman whose life was stolen from her, while going for a run.

There is a massive ongoing and rapidly worsening problem for women when it comes to their personal safety, both in and out of their homes.

More often than not, it is grim to listen to the sentences that are frequently given for very violent attacks, and these are exacerbated when we learn that many perpetrators of such attacks only serve half the time that they should have.

We hear after court cases that the perpetrator had a difficult childhood or left school at a young age. So? There are many people who had difficult childhoods and left school early, yet they go on to function perfectly normally.


It is never an excuse because there is no excuse.

Like thousands and thousands of other women, I was the victim of an aggressive mugging. A man was waiting for me behind the front gate of my house as I was coming home one evening. I gave as good as I got, but when he grabbed my hair and shook me backwards and forwards like a rag doll, while punching the back of my head, I let go of the handbag that he was trying to steal from me. Twenty-plus years later, this incident is as easy for me to recall as if it happened yesterday. I am vigilant if alone, day or night, and I constantly assess any possible dangers to me, whether I am walking alone, or am in an underground car park, or am coming home late at night, even though I have since moved house. I am joined by many other women who feel exactly the same. Unsafe.

We need a seismic shift in our judicial system; no more lenient sentences; no more aggressive attackers being released on bail; and no more excuses for perpetrators of these crimes.

Until this happens, we must continue to look after ourselves and each other, and work tirelessly to eradicate the belief that this behaviour is tolerable at any level. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.