Leona O'Callaghan: "The statistics about the epidemic of violence against women speak for themselves"
A LIMERICK survivor of sexual violence has joined trade and student unions in calling for an end to gender-based violence on International Women’s Day, March 8.
Leona O’Callaghan, who waived her right to anonymity last November so that her rapist would be identified, joined the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), Unite the Union and ROSA in Dublin on Monday.
The group, which was chaired by Ruth Coppinger TD, are urging a series of protests and walkouts this International Women’s Day, Friday March 8, to call for an end to the gender pay gap and for an end to gender-based violence.
“The statistics about the epidemic of violence against women speak for themselves,” Ms O’Callaghan said.
“We do not have sufficient legislation to adequately deal with the issue of consent.”
“We remain participants in a victim-blaming Ireland where the perpetrator has the right to legal representation, but victims and survivors do not.”
“We remain in a country where there is inadequate education in our church-led schools that fail us, by not providing the knowledge and guidance needed to put an end to victim blaming, to highlight what consent is and to teach men not to rape, rather than teach women how to not be raped.”
“Gender equality is not a women's issue,” Ms O’Callaghan added.
“When we associate masculinity with power, money, muscles and aggression we disclude the good men who are not representative of these traits.”
This Monday, the USI called for walkouts and protests on March 8, to demand action on violence against women.
Unite the Union also called on workers to protest the gender pay gap at 3.25 pm on March 8, to represent the gender-pay gap between male and female workers.