According to Women’s Aid, one in every two women killed through homicide in Ireland have died at the hands of their former or current partner. How many victims encounter violence on a daily basis and never say anything? The statistics will always be difficult to attain considering the stigma that is still attached to it in Donegal. While we are a new website who are here to give you all the gossip, style guides, entertainment and much more we also want to be vocal about common issues women face in their daily lives by letting them know there is help out there.
Domestic violence is more common than most people realise and is often unreported and misunderstood. A National Study in 2003 found that 29 per cent of women and 26 per cent of men suffer domestic abuse when severe abuse and minor incidents are combined. Donegal is no different and a large number of incidents have been reported in the county in recent times, thankfully the women and men of Donegal can call on the Donegal Domestic Violence Service.
The Donegal Women’s Domestic Violence Service (DWDVS) is a voluntary organisation providing information, support and temporary refuge to victims of domestic violence and their families. The group was formed in 1991, following an incident of domestic violence, which resulted in the death of a Donegal woman. Prior to this incident a number of Donegal women, who were victims of domestic violence and who were forced to seek refuge in Northern Ireland, launched a media campaign for a refuge to be established in Donegal. Public outcry ensued following the murder of the local woman, and the implementation of crisis accommodation was the outcome of a public meeting held in Letterkenny. DWDVS are the only Donegal-wide service in operation.
Domestic violence profoundly affects the physical, emotional, social and financial well-being of individuals and families. It is perpetrated against a person by that person’s spouse, intimate partner, ex-partner, other family members and/or another person at home. Domestic violence follows a pattern of repeated abusive and controlling behaviour that occurs within an intimate or family relationship and may even continue after the relationship has ended.
Domestic, sexual and gender-based violence have recently emerged as an increasingly important topic in the public debate both in Ireland and in the international community. While in the past, discussion has been focused primarily on violence against women, men can also be victims of violence in the home and in relationships. Men and women have exactly the same rights to be safe in their own homes. All statutory services (such as the Gardaí, Courts, and social services) have a duty to provide services to all, whatever their gender.
In recent times there has been a steady rise of the “Double Suicide” but just how often is it both parties agreeing to the pact? It seems in a lot of cases that the abuser realises that they have gone too far and take their own life in the last act of cruelty.
A couple of months ago, in Cavan, Alan Hawe killed his wife and his three children. Our newspapers were full of our questions: “Why did he do it?”; “How could he kill those poor boys?” We heard what an honourable man the murderer was and how he was ‘a valuable member of the community’.
Days passed and reports were so focused on Alan Hawe and the children he killed, that it wasn’t until Linnea Dunne wrote ‘Rest in Peace, Invisible Woman’ – an article that was republished internationally and created the social tag #HerNameWasClodagh – that we talked or thought about Clodagh.
In Ireland, we haven’t yet figured out how to talk about the fact that not everyone is born into, or marries into a loving, safe home. We haven’t figured out how to talk with outrage about the ‘bread and butter’ violence inflicted on people everyday in their homes. Most of all, we haven’t figured out how to be outraged at our own apathy and blithe acceptance of that violence – the fact that it continues to be called a ‘domestic’.
The extra stress in the run-up to Christmas triggers more frequent and, at times, more severe abuse of individuals at the hands of their partners. Women’s Aid warned that the abuse can step up after Christmas Day, often because some women take the first steps to leave the relationship.
The Donegal Women’s Domestic Violence Service works to empower and support women to regain, reclaim and retain control of their lives and to live free from the fear of violence and of abuse. If you are in need of their services or know someone who needs their help please contact them, it is a 100% confidential service.
The short video below contains help numbers and information:
Donegal Women’s Domestic Violence Service:
Tel: 074 9127591
Women’s Aid helpline: 1800 341 900 or womensaid.ie