By Michelle Devane, PA
Protesters have gathered in Dublin calling for emergency action on the “shadow pandemic” of gender-based violence.
Members of the socialist feminist group Rosa held a socially distanced rally outside Leinster House on Wednesday to highlight a lack of Government action.
Campaigners covered their masks with green paint prints to symbolise being silenced.
Speaking at the rally, former TD Ruth Coppinger said: “We make this essential protest today on behalf of the 19 women who will contact a Safe Ireland agency for the first time, on behalf of the seven women who won’t be able to get a refuge place, and on behalf of all those who’ll seek help for sexual violence.
“Calls to all agencies dealing with gender and sexual violence have rocketed during the pandemic. Services are described as at ‘breaking point’.
“More than 2,500 women couldn’t find a refuge place during the pandemic. More than a quarter of all calls were first-time calls.
“This is a crisis, but it’s not being treated as such by Government.”
Ms Coppinger said rape crisis agencies had had a 23 per cent increase in contacts, and stressed that only one in 10 rapes is reported and even fewer are prosecuted “because of the absolutely brutal court system and the victim-blaming culture that is so widespread”.
Here's to all transgender, non binary and intersex people today on #TDOV2021. We have to fight transphobia wherever it rears its head. At Dail today @RosaWomen highlighted that 1 in 4 trans people have been publicly attacked. #dubw #TransDayOfVisibility
— Ruth Coppinger (@RuthCoppingerSP) March 31, 2021
“As well as starving agencies of the funds they need, the Dáil has done nothing to begin a campaign of consent-based education that’s needed throughout society — in schools, colleges, workplaces and communities,” she said.
“The blocking of the sex ed Bill is an example.
“On this day of trans visibility, we also highlight violence against transgender people, with one in four trans or intersex people having faced a public attack.
“The Government is paying lip service to this issue, claiming it is a priority but in reality continuing the neglect.
“We call for emergency funding and action by the Government on all these issues.”