Media Release: Women’s Aid call for Zero Tolerance of Male Violence against Women in wake of killing of Ashling Murphy.

13 Jan 2022

  • Recent killing in Co. Offaly highlights level of violence against women in Ireland.
  • Every woman should have the right to be safe both in their own homes and in their communities. 
  • Focus should not be on what women ‘should’ do to avoid harm, or on the places attacks occur, but firmly on the perpetrators of violence against women.
  • Random killings are rare but women’s fear is very real.

Thursday, 13th January 2022: Women’s Aid, a national frontline organisation working to prevent and address the impact of domestic violence and abuse, has called for zero tolerance of all forms of male violence against women in the wake of the violent killing of a young woman in Co. Offaly.   Ashling Murphy was killed as she ran along the Royal Canal in Tullamore in Co. Offaly.  Women’s Aid, who has kept a record of the violent deaths of women in Ireland since 1996, says that 244 women have now been killed since then with 87% of resolved cases being perpetrated by a man known to the victim.   13% of perpetrators were strangers.   

Sarah Benson, CEO of Women’s Aid says: 

“The killing of women is the extreme end of a spectrum of violence and abuse that women in Ireland and across the world experience every day.  The appalling murder of Ashling Murphy, a young woman in Co. Offaly, yesterday is a shocking example of the dangers posed to women by violent men.  We offer our sincere condolences to Ashling’s family, friends and community.”

Ms Benson adds: 

“The Women’s Aid Femicide Watch shows that in the majority of homicide incidents, women have been killed by a man known to them (87%).  While 13% of women were killed by a stranger.  While the killing of women by strangers are rare, they highlight the climate of fear in which women live our lives.”

Ms Benson continues: 

“As with the horrific case of Sarah Everard’s murder in the UK last year, we see on social media, an outpouring of women’s lifelong experiences of systemic misogyny and casual sexism and abuse. We are also hearing of the internalised fears many women carry no matter where they are in public places because of this.  Any response to yesterday’s appalling events must not focus on places – it must focus on perpetrators. We must not fall into tired tropes of examining whether areas are ‘safe’ but consider instead the attitudes and actions of men who make women feel unsafe even in crowded and well lit areas.”

Ms Benson explains: 

“Women are not afraid of the dark or a lonely space. They are afraid of a violent male perpetrator in the dark.  Not all men are violent, and I don’t think anyone is claiming that. However, the majority of violence against women, and indeed men, is perpetrated by men.   That’s something as a whole society, including men, we need to tackle.”

Ms Benson concludes: 

“Every woman should have the right to be safe, both in their own homes and in their communities. We need a zero tolerance to all forms of male violence against women and it will take all of us to commit to lasting change.   This includes men who must act as allies in tackling misogyny and inequality.  There needs to be an investment in resources for education to change attitudes and we need an improved criminal justice system that better protects women.    If we do this, we will ultimately create a more equal and safer society for everyone – men and women alike.”

Ends. 

For more information: contact Christina Sherlock on 087 9192457 or by email christina.sherlock@womensaid.ie

Details of Support: Women's Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900 www.womensaid.ie.  All local and national support services listed at www.stillhere.ie