Clare Haven Services are marking 16 Days of Action on Violence Against Women, hoping to raise awareness and to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, until 10 December, Human Rights Day.
Clare Haven Manager of Services, Dr Siobhán O’Connor asserts that domestic violence isn’t a matter that happens behind closed doors, it’s not a matter that happens between private family members but a situation of life or death. The purpose of the 16 day campaign is a, “way for society internationally, nationally and locally to focus clearly on the real scourge that is within our society in Clare and within our communities, of violence against women.”
Since records began in 1996, there have been eight documented instances where women in Clare were murdered at the hands of a partner, ex-partner or family member. Since the onset of Covid, the number of new and reactivated cases of domestic violence has risen exponentially, Dr. O’Connor confirms. “There is an increase in the level of abuse and violence since Level 5 restrictions,” she states.
“In normal times, these women would have places of work, library and shops to go to, as social spaces away from the violence. These have been taken away during both lockdowns and it’s time for reflection, consideration and turning attention to these incidents within our society.”
Dr. O’Connor also notes an increase in orders as well as breaches in orders, whereby the male partner is breaching a state directive. This is something which is quite frightening and frustrating for the woman, she tells, “that piece of paper is worth something, but only dependent on how cross or how angry he gets. There is that famous quote from Margaret Atwood, ‘Men are afraid that women will laugh at them, women are afraid that men will kill them.’ That’s where we are in our society.”
She highlighted the generosity of the Clare people, who haven’t put victims of domestic abuse aside at this time. “We are incredibly grateful for that. There are no donations to small or too big. We have been getting donations all the way through lockdown. They have continued to think of these women through their own loneliness and hardships caused by Covid.”
For anyone experiencing domestic abuse that would like to reach out to Clare Haven services, contact the 24-hour hotline at: 065-682 2435.