Tag Archive | DOMESTIC ABUSE

Why doesn’t she just leave him?

In this Women’s Live’s, Women’s Voice’ feature in support of the 16 days of action campaign  Donegal local Jenna talks about the issue of domestic abuse, highlighting why it’s so important to understand the realities of victims and survivors.


Did you know Ireland is currently taking part in the annual International campaign known as the 16 Days of Action? This internationally recognised campaign runs from 25th November (UN Day For the Elimination of Violence against Women) to 10th December 2020 (International Human Rights Day). It is a campaign used to highlight the issue of gender based violence and an organising strategy by individuals and organisations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. (UN Women)

Gender-Based Violence refers to “violence that is directed against a person on the basis of gender or sex and includes acts that inflict physical, mental or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other denials of freedom” (cosc.ie)

And while both men and women can experience gender based violence the reality however remains that in 2020 it is women and girls who are disproportionately affected by this violence. With 1 in 4 women in Ireland having experienced domestic abuse by a current or former partner. (Women’s Aid)


Why doesn’t she just leave him?

By nature people are quick to form judgments. Have you ever sat just drinking a coffee and watching strangers pass by as you contemplate what kind of people they may be? I think it’s normal for us to create stories in our minds now and again about the lives of others and the characteristics they may possess.

Or maybe you can think of a time when you have read or watched a news story on television and had speculated about those involved and how they might have found themselves in a certain situation.

We take in what we can see in front of us and somehow our brains begin to connect the dots and form opinions about people. Maybe in some cases we judge correctly but in others we are just guessing without any real depth of knowledge.

Perhaps it is something we can teach ourselves to refrain from doing. Maybe sometimes we need to take a step back and really truly think about the person we are making the assumptions about.

“Before you judge my life, my past or my character, walk in my shoes, walk the path I have travelled, live my sorrow, my doubts, my fear, my pain and my laughter” – Unknown

After my sister’s death last year I learned a lot of life lessons that I’d never imagined I would have to. I had to face things that I would never have dreamed could have happened to our family. I definitely learned that we don’t know what is going on in other people’s lives and the difficulties they face.

Since Jasmine died I think that people feel as though they can talk to me about their own problems more so than a person who hasn’t experienced this tragedy. Through this difficult journey I have had several women talk to me about their past experiences with domestic violence or the current situation that they are in.

I truly don’t think that enough people are aware of the extent of people who are having to deal with gender based violence in their lives. So many of the victims who I have spoken to are probably the women who society would ‘never expect’ would find themselves in a situation like that. But unfortunately this type of violence is happening more than we think.

Why doesn’t she just leave him? A question that has probably been asked a million times. Maybe to some people this is a logical question. Just walk away. Simple? Every million times this question is asked there are another million responses as to why this question isn’t in fact helpful or logical.

When I was asked to take part in 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence I knew that I had to take this opportunity to share some of the reasons that the women I have spoken to share with me.

One of the reasons that came up over and over again was because of the children.

“A mother will do almost anything to protect her child and I stayed because I didn’t know what could happen if I tried to leave.” – Lady 1

“I felt as though I was trapped and if I moved then my children would be in danger” – Lady 2

Another reason that we discussed was the guilt that the victim is made to feel.

“I stayed with him because he said he was going to kill himself and it would be all my fault ” – Lady 3

This type of threat was also used against a victim but while adding the extra danger by involving the child. “I stayed with him because he threatened to kill himself or run away with our daughter if I left” – Lady 4

Other reasons why these women stayed included an immense sense of fear. A feeling of shame about the situation they are in and also financial constraints. If they left, where would they go, how could they leave without the money to escape.

But all of the victims I spoke to did express something that it is so important, that gender based violence becomes something that people are more aware of. That questions and judgmental statements aren’t helpful in preventing it from happening. Awareness is key and in order to help these people we must understand that everything isn’t always black and white and there are so many factors involved in these extremely dangerous circumstances.

So why doesn’t she just leave him? It’s most definitely not that simple.


Please know you are not alone, there are people you can talk to. If you or any one you know have been effected by domestic abuse you can find support with the following services;

Local county wide support in Donegal 

Donegal Women’s Domestic Violence Service is a frontline service providing crisis accommodation, 24 hr helpline, support (1800262677) and information and outreach service throughout the County to women and their children who are victims of domestic violence.

Donegal Women’s Centre operate a domestic violence counselling service delivered in the Donegal Women’s Centre with outreach centres in, Killybegs, Ballyshannon, Falcarragh, Dungloe and Carndonagh. Call 074 91 24985 for appointment or more information


National support in Ireland

Women’s Aid Ireland Freephone Helpline (1800 341 900) operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and provides support and information to callers experiencing abuse from intimate partners.

Safe Ireland You can find a list of County services across Ireland here.

Men’s Aid Ireland is a service for men who are experiencing domestic violence. You can call them on 01 554 3811or email hello@mensaid.ie.
Their helpline is open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm.

The National Office for Victims of Abuse provides assistance, support and advice for people in abusive relationships. Freephone 1800 252 524.

Anyone who may wish to report or discuss an incident of Domestic or Sexual Violence can contact 112/999 or their local Garda Station.


NCCWN Donegal are always looking for women to share their stories and looking for women to write features on topics of their choice which we will profile as part of our Women’s Lives, Women’s Voices’ series.

Breaking the Silence

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There are various forms of violence committed against women and one of the most prevalent is sexual violence.

By definition sexual violence means any non-consented act or activity imposed upon a person. The violence itself can take various forms “including but not restricted to: rape, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, sexual harassment, rape within marriage/relationships, forced marriage, so-called honour-based violence, female genital mutilation, trafficking, sexual exploitation, and ritual abuse.” (Rape Crisis Organisation)

Sexual violence never seems to be an easy topic to openly discuss due in part to its sensitive nature, a situation which seems to only feed the crime’s prevalence.

Research in Ireland (SAVI) showed that 42% of women and 28% of men as having experienced some form of sexual abuse or assault in their lifetime (McGee et al, 2002). Further research shows that only around 33% of incidents are reported in Ireland to the police or another formal authority. (Donegal Rape Crisis Centre, 2012) While 90% of sexual violence perpetrators are known to their victim. Such statistics highlight the victim’s insecurity over coming forward and the fact that perpetrators are commonly known to them.

By engaging in an open conversation however we can help break down the negative attitudes and barriers which allow sexual violence to continue and instead start to ensure its prevention.

To help bring awareness to the crime of sexual violence, Inclusion Ireland has produced an information booklet, which holds answers to some of the questions people may be afraid to ask.  While it also provides information of the support available to victims and the actions we can take to report a crime of sexual violence.

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Click here  to view and download the information and support booklet

     Remember you are not alone, there are people you can talk to     If you or any one you know have been effected by sexual violence you can find support with Donegal Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre, call them for free on 1800 44 88 44.

BE INFORMED…About your 2014 Local Election Candidates

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Where does your Donegal Local Election Candidate stand on issues relating to Childcare, Cuts to Carers, Domestic Abuse + Violence Against Women, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT), Travellers, Women’s Political Representation and Equality within our society?

Early 2014, The National Women’s Collective- Donegal Women’s Network held a number of meetings to hear and collect what are the main issues locally and nationally for women in Donegal. Some of the issues discussed and debated were the lack of women’s representation, lack of local training and employment issues, cuts to home helps and services for the older person and people with disabilities, domestic abuse, lack of transport and accessible affordable community child-care. These meetings were supported by Longford Women’s Manifesto Project.

Following on from these meetings a questionnaire was designed  by The National Women’s Collective- Donegal Women’s Network  and an “Open Invitation” was sent out to the 83 candidates running in the local elections to respond to questions identified  as areas of concern by voters in Donegal.

To-date the responses we have received have been insightful and we are delighted that all of the candidates who responded stated that they would work towards upholding and promoting the ethos of social inclusion, equality and human rights. All agreed that gender equality is a fundamental principle underpinning the concept of social justice, and human and civil rights in Ireland.  All  candidates pledged to sign up to the MAN UP campaign and to undertake a half day workshop on domestic violence in 2014 that would be delivered by Donegal Women’s Domestic Violence Service.

To read your 2014 Local Election Candidates full responses to our questions please click on the candidates picture and you will be taken to their individual response. This we believe will give the electorate an insight into each candidate as well as giving the candidates an open forum which could be helpful in securing votes.


Donegal Electoral Area

   Joseph McN Bernie Mulhern


Glenties Electoral Area

joe mc carron Marie Therese Gallagher


Inishowen Electoral Area

eilis haden Mary McCauley Albert Doherty CiaranMcLaughlin 


Letterkenny Electoral Area 

 sio John Watson gb Jimmy Kavanagh gerry mcm Mick Quinn


Stranorlar Electoral Area

charile Gary Doherty Alan McMenamin  Claudia Kennedy


Still waiting to hear from (as of 15/5/14)

DONEGAL ELECTORAL AREA GLENTIES ELECTORAL AREA INISHOWEN ELECTORAL AREA LETTERKENNY ELECTORAL AREA STRANORLAR ELECTORAL AREA
John Boyle Padraig Doherty Paul Canning Liam Blaney Gerry Crawford
Brendan Byrne Seamus O Domhnaill Rena Donaghey Ciaran Brogan Patrick McGowan
Sean Mc Eniff Hughie McBride Martin McDermott Michael Mc Bride Martin Harley
Michael Naughton Ian Molloy Mickey Doherty Noel Mc Bride Bert Galbraith
Barry O’Neill Enda Bonner John Ryan Ian Mc Garvey Seamus Kee
John Mc Nulty Terence Slowey Bernard McGuinness James Pat Mc Daid Brian McCrea
Patricia McCafferty John Curran Peter McLaughlin John O Donnell Liam Doherty
Laurence McManus Micheal Cholm Mac GiollaEasbuig Martin Farren Tom Crossan Tim Meehan
Jonathan Kennedy Michael Mc Clafferty Joe Murphy Peter Cutliffe
Michael McMahon Brendan Carr Nicholas Crossan Donal Cullen
Noel Jordan Seamus Rodgers Patrick McCarroll David Fisher
John Sheamáis O Fearraigh Ryan Stewart  Charlie McLafferty
Paul Ferguson Paschal Blake
Billy Banda
Dessie Shiels

The BE INFORMED…About your 2014 Local Election Candidates Initiative has been brought to you by the Donegal team at The National Women’s Collective Donegal Women’s Network.

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