Today marks International Day to End Violence Against Women and it feels as though we’ve fallen asleep and awoken during the 1600’s. Just in case you thought that rape culture here wasn’t a thing, it is. And it’s very much alive and kicking us all in the face.
New frightening statistics were released this afternoon highlighting the growing issue of consent and rape here in Ireland and the EU, despite national campaigns and public support for victims of rape and abuse. The research was carried out by Eurobarometer and looked at four areas of interest including how we perceive domestic violence (i.e do we think it actually happens in Irish homes), our awareness of domestic violence (i.e do you know anyone directly affected by it), our perceptions on and attitudes towards gender-based violence, and the legal repercussions of gender-based violence.
Perhaps most appallingly, the research found that 21% of Irish, and 27% of EU respondents think that having sexual intercourse without consent is okay in certain situations. A small number of Irish people also think that violence against women is often provoked by the victim and that women often make up or exaggerate claims of abuse or rape *queue the most exaggerated eye roll you’ve ever seen*.
Sorry, there’s more. Another small portion of Irish people surveyed also believe that it’s totally justifiable to have nonconsensual intercourse with another person if they’re drinking alcohol or taking drugs or if they’re wearing provocative clothing or not clearly saying no or physically fighting back.
Further still(and completely gob-smackingly frightening), some of the people agreeing with these statements are, in fact, female.
And when it came to gender-based sexual violence 7 percent of Irish participants think it’s okay to touch a colleague in an unwanted or inappropriate way, while 8 percent think it’s okay to send unwanted sexually explicit emails or messages.
Perhaps the only positive thing to come from this research is the fact that the majority of people (76 percent) acknoweldged that violence against women in this country is still an on-going problem. We’re supposed to be a prosperous nation with ample opportunity, excellent education systems, and have a high level of morale, yet when it comes to treating our female citizens we’re falling far below the mark. Come on, Ireland. Let’s be leaders that other nations can look to in times of trouble.
And no, we’re not asking for it. You can take a look at the full statistics here.