Limerick women’s groups fight against domestic abuse

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Helen Flanagan, Limerick city CDP St Munchin's, Myra Dillon, Mary Cunningham, Marie Quinlivan and Miriam Duffy, Rape Crisis Mid-West, present their handmade dolls that reflect abuse during the 1800s when women were deported to foreign countries to work as slaves. Picture: Adrian Butler
A SIXTEEN day campaign to highlight women’s rights and domestic abuse was launched by the Mayor of Limerick and local voluntary organisations in the Savoy Hotel on Friday morning.

A SIXTEEN day campaign to highlight women’s rights and domestic abuse was launched by the Mayor of Limerick and local voluntary organisations in the Savoy Hotel on Friday morning.

The global campaign, entitled 16 Days of Action Against Violence Against Women, kicked off in casual style, as work groups from all over the city met in the Charlotte function room to launch the exclusive itinerary.

Miriam Duffy, director of Rape Crisis Mid-West, was one of the many leading figures in the city’s services for “emotionally and physically” abused women. She said every year, there are more people seeking help.

“There is a constant increase, year after year, when it comes to people approaching us. Rape Crisis also offers services to men, as well. But there has been around a 3-5% increase on any given year. Some years it would be a bit more. There is a huge stigma in approaching a rape crisis centre or a women’s support service because that initial first step is that someone is admitting to themselves ‘yes, this has happened to me’ and that is the first step to the road to recovery,” she told the Limerick Leader.

Another representative who was thankful of the large gathering at the event, where more than a dozen round tables with tea and scones were set, was ADAPT domestic abuse assistant, Deirdre Barrett.

ADAPT, Rosbrien, is a local service designed to offer help to women who are suffering from domestic abuse. Ms Barrett said admissions to their outreach services have “quadrupled”.

“The problems are definitely not going away, unfortunately. The service and refuge in ADAPT has been busier than ever before. In fact, the amount of admissions to the refuge and the outreach services has quadrupled in the last two years, so it is definitely not going away. I think people may be speaking about it a bit more because they are becoming more aware that there are services there to help.

“Emotional abuse is actually the worst kind, where they would say: ‘if only he would just hit me, it would be over.’ The abuse goes on day-in and day-out. The goalposts are moving; the egg is too soft today, too hard tomorrow; the shirt is never ironed properly, and the woman feels like she’s a puppet on a string and a slave in her own home. She will try to please him but will never get anything right,” she explained.

The ADAPT development worker added that there is an increase in young girls subject to emotional abuse from “controlling” partners via text message and on Facebook.

St Munchin’s Women’s Group came together to make life-sized dolls, representing the women that were “deported” around the world during the 1800s. A member of the group explained that they prove that abuse is “not just a modern thing”.