Violence against women

 

Sir, – The UN Office on Drugs and Crime monitors the rates of homicide across the world. In 2019, the last year for which reasonably complete statistics are available, Ireland had the 11th lowest rate of homicide against women of the 193 UN member states.

With 0.33 homicides of women per 100,000 population, we had the lowest rate of the homicide of women in the European Union, and the third lowest on the European continent as a whole, behind Iceland and tiny Liechtenstein.

In countries such as Norway, Canada and New Zealand – often held out as nirvanas for women’s rights by NGOs and lobby groups – women die by homicide at rates of between 0.5 and 0.93 women per hundred thousand, in other words at between two and three times the rate of killing in Ireland.

These are the facts.

No level of murder is acceptable, and statistics provide no comfort when we are talking about the loss of life.

But if anybody beamed down from Mars last week and observed the media coverage of this issue, would they get the impression that the number of homicides against women in Ireland is among the lowest in the world?

On the contrary, one narrative was permitted, which is that the rates of murder, violence and sexual violence against women are completely out of control and rising exponentially, with women – all women – facing potentially mortal danger on a daily basis, and men – all men – being culpable for this.

One broadsheet daily newspaper had a front-page headline by a female writer which asked “Which of us will be next?”

What purpose does it serve to terrorise women and suggest that we should become prisoners in our own homes? What is the point of demonising all men as being responsible, and not the absolutely tiny percentage of so-called men who are the perpetrators?

And why doesn’t a single female politician or representative group have the courage to shout “stop” to this hysteria? – Yours, etc,

SARAH-ANNE

CLEARY,

Strokestown,

Co Roscommon.

Sir, – We need to put in place the infrastructure for change, we need to invest in change, we need to mobilise communities for change and we need to educate a new generation of children on gender equality and the benefits it brings to lives and communities.

We need to question everything and have the courage to let go of anything that does not serve us.

Ireland can be the safest country in the world for women and children.

We all have a part to play and we will all benefit from this change. – Yours, etc,

SHARON

O’HALLORAN,

Coolaney,

Sligo.

Sir, – How can we change attitudes, educate for difference and put in place structures that will respond to calls from Irish society for a national answer to Ashling Murphy’s violent death last week? Every stratum in Irish society should have a response to this tragedy. Knowing that this violent behaviour develops over time, from cat-calling, bullying and vicious teasing, behaviour first seen in the classroom, the response from the education section must be the immediate introduction of new proposals to our existing health and sex education programmes.

Since introducing sex education to the Irish education system, I have maintained an interest in how our schools’ sex education curriculum has developed.

Today it is surely time to acknowledge that its contents are not fit for purpose for today’s generation.

Promundo, founded in Brazil in 1997, came to my attention. An international movement which aims to deliver strategies that will engage men and boys in partnerships with women and girls, in response to developing deviant behaviour, it continues to carry out research, operates across a global world and makes its findings available to to all.

Yes, our protests must be heard, but the follow-up actions are mainly in the hands of Government. – Yours, etc,

NIAMH BHREATHNACH,

(former minister

for education),

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.