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Violence against women: challenging the anti-woman backlash!

Published: Sunday, November 25, 2001

Launch of: Violence Against Women: An Issue of Gender
Royal Dublin Hotel, Dublin

'The NWCI, as the representative voice of women in Ireland deplores the wave of anti-woman misinformation being disseminated through certain media columns and by so-called men's groups' stated Mary Kelly, Deputy Chairwoman of the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI), who chaired today's launch. 'We welcome the growing number of women's and men's groups and individuals, who are answering the misinformation with rational, research supported facts. We welcome the voices of public figures, politicians and journalists who are speaking about the reality of violence against women' she added. 'The supports and services required by women who are abused must be maintained and developed despite the recent attempts to undermine and pour scorn on those who provide such vital services' asserted Ms. Kelly.

'This paper addresses the arguments and misinformation about the abuse of women. The organisations which have drafted the document, have been providing services to victims of violence for the last 30 years, and have been involved in training, analysis and research' said Ms. Kelly. 'Tragically, the misinformation has led to silencing women who are being abused and to challenging the validity of, and funding for, those essential services' she continued.

She went on to say that those who deny the reality of the abuse of women choose not to see the effects on women and on the wider society, including children. 'They simply do not care about the lives, safety or human rights of women and children' declared Ms. Kelly. 'The vast majority of criminal assaults in Ireland are committed by men and there is a disturbing increase in the number of women who are being seriously injured and killed, due to male violence' she added.

'We are operating in a very hostile environment and those who speak the truth or question unsubstantiated claims are also being attacked. Journalists like Fintan O'Toole and others, who challenge opinions which incite hatred against women or who highlight the unequal power relations between men and women are subject to the backlash' declared Ms. Kelly. 'The gathering of women's groups launching this document today, has worked for 30 years to establish legislative, social and economic supports for women who have experienced violence. We will not allow the erosion of those gains. In this document and launch, the backlash has its answer' she concluded.