Broadcaster and academic Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin had to be given a garda escort out of Cork while dealing with harassment by a man who was then working in University College Dublin (UCD).
Dr Ní Shúilleabháin, who is an assistant professor in UCD, details the incident as part of an in-depth interview in today’s Irish Times.
She was in a hotel in West Cork for a weekend with friends when the man showed up twice.
Gardaí were called each time and Dr Ní Shúilleabháin and her group of friends were given a Garda escort out of the county, an experience she described as ‘incredibly stressful’.
It was just one of a number of interactions between the academic and the man over a two-year period between 2015 and 2017. He was later charged with harassment and barred from contacting Dr Ní Shúilleabháin for five years.
Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris has praised her for speaking out about the harassment she faced while at UCD.
Mr Harris said on Twitter that he spoke with Aoibhinn about her experience.
"Thank you Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin for meeting with me, for speaking out & for being determined that we stamp out sexual violence & harassment in third level sector for students & staff - & in society overall. A major priority for me & taking a range of actions to make sure we achieve this."
In the interview, Ms Ní Shúilleabháin said she was frightened of being alone on campus and unnerved almost to the point of abandoning her successful academic career.
The National Women’s Council (NWC) has commended Dr Ní Shúilleabháin for her ‘courage and bravery’ in speaking out about her experience and said she has highlighted the 'deep and significant impact' harassment can have.
“It highlights how this trauma can be compounded by the response from an institution that does not fully recognise the seriousness of the issue and its responsibility to offer adequate protection to the victim,” Orla O’Connor, Director of NWC said.
“We now need to see urgent action by all third level institutes to ensure both staff and students can be safe on campus."
"Where an incident occurs, we crucially need to have in place clear policies and procedures that follow best practice in this area and ensure the victim is supported and protected at all times.”
You can read the full interview with Dr Ní Shúilleabháin in The Irish Times