*Trigger warning: Rape, sexual assault.
I believe her.
So, I had this conversation with someone in college the other day and the Belfast Rape trial came up. This case was one that had impacted both of us quite a lot and one we both felt quite emotional and strongly about.
I cried when the verdict came out. I was so upset and disheartened. I understand its personal opinion but I believe the evidence told quite a clear story about what happened that night and although I understand that before convicting anyone of any crime the evidence has to be 100% concrete, I whole heartedly believe those men should have been convicted.
A while back I wrote a blog post on Repeal the Eighth in which I told ‘Mia’s’ story. I watched the hell ‘Mia’ went through over those years post rape. I watched her hiding what happened from her family and closest friends. I watched her fall apart but still carry on with a smile everyday because there was no way she could let anyone in on what happened.
Much Later, I watched her go to the guards and report the issue. Knowing that so much time had passed, ‘Mia’ understood that little was going to be done about the case. But still, she somewhere found this insane courage to report the incident incase her information was the one missing piece. In case there was any chance she could stop this happening to someone else.
I listened to her describe going into the garda station, being intimately interviewed by two male guards and then dropped home and not contacted again. I watched these events affect her all over again, even though she had finally begun to really put the past behind her.
I am so angry and upset for ‘Mia’! I am so angry and upset for all victims of sexual assault. I am so angry and upset for all the women of Ireland.
The men involved in the Belfast trial were never going to be convicted, I believe. No matter how fool-proof the evidence.
That poor woman’s life has been destroyed. It’s going to take so much for her to bounce back from the torture she has been put through. I watched Paddy Jackson’s statement as he came out of the court. His representative said something along the lines of “he just can’t wait to get back on the pitch”, as if that was his biggest concern.
I believe this case publicly told the story of what happens on a daily basis.
Recently I attended an event where I witnessed so many people, both men and women stand up and tell their stories of being sexually assaulted. It was such a powerful experience that I was honoured to be apart of. People have had enough. Even if it takes standing up and talking about the most intimate, personal and terrifying moments of their lives in front of strangers; they are willing to make that sacrifice and to fight for the right to be listened to! To fight for justice. To fight for our safety.
The idea that our country, the country that is supposed to protect and care for its citizens avoids convicting rapists and then, if the woman (assuming the victim was a woman) falls pregnant forces her to keep the baby is sickening. I am so angry. I deserve more! The women of Ireland deserve more than that. The men of Ireland deserve more than that. We all deserve a better system in which to live!
I am so, so aware that rapists aren’t all men. That men are victims here too.
I saw the most ignorant post on Facebook recently. It was about all the inequalities men face and how women spend their lives giving out about being oppressed when in fact, men are the “real victims”.
I unfriended the person who posted it.
FEMINISM. Feminism is the belief that both men and women deserve equal rights. This is what we need to fight for. All genders deserve equal rights. WE ARE ALL HUMANS AND WE ARE ALL AS IMPORTANT AND VALID AS EACH OTHER! I cannot understand how this is a competition? “Whooohhooo I win! I’m more subordinated than you!” ?????
I was cat called on the way home from college today and that was absolutely the last straw. I HATE that people feel like it’s okay to degrade me and humiliate me like that. I hate the underlying feeling that I am quietly a second class citizen in my own country. I hate the feeling that If I am ever sexually assaulted I will be treated as a liar until I am, without any questionable proof proven otherwise. And let’s be honest, chances are that won’t happen. ESPECIALLY if the accused is a famous, white male.
None of this is okay.
I’m going to reiterate here that this blog post is entirely my personal opinions. I know that some people will strongly disagree. That’s fine. Just want to make it clear that your opinions are your opinions and just as valid as mine. However, I also want to make it clear that I have no interest in hearing your opinions if you do disagree with me. I am so angry and sad and broken over this. (I have tears in my eyes right now.)
The fact that so many people, men and women will not come forward in seek of any kind of justice after following this case breaks my heart. It should not be embarrassing or shameful to come forward. If I was robbed on the street nobody would second guess me. So why if I am stripped of my dignity, hurt physically and mentally and violated do people immediately question what I was wearing or how much I drank. Whether or not I screamed ‘NO’ loud enough or if I’m even telling the truth at all?
On May 25th please go out and use your voice. Please vote in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment in our constitution. Please fight for those who need us to fight for them.
Man or woman, please stop tolerating sexism. Please stop allowing others to make unwanted sexual comments/ advancements where possible. It’s demeaning, disgusting, inappropriate and hurtful. IT IS NOT OKAY.
I don’t feel so much like smiling right now. I am angry, upset and broken.