To honour the life of Aisling Murphy, I extend my condolences and deepest apologies for what fate she met and my thoughts are with her family and loved ones in this darkest time. A cloud of darkness has descended upon Ireland following the tragic news and a new fear has swept over a frightening number of females in the country as the feeling of “nowhere is safe” and all we want to do is get home safe. All we want to do is walk the streets without flinching at every stranger passing. All we want to do is wear that outfit we bought for a night out without some men thinking it’s a welcome invitation to do what they want without any repercussions.
It offers the question of what Ireland can do to make us feel safe. It also offers the answer that Ireland itself isn’t the entire problem, but society is. How about educating children from a young age about gender-based violence? How about teaching our teenagers how to treat a woman correctly and that NO is NO! How about we embrace the tradition of talking out about our assaults or attacks and dealing with them accordingly instead of bottling it up? We don’t live in a world anymore full of flowers and father’s permission; we live in a daunting society where some people think “no” means “yes” and where many women can’t even walk safely in daylight any more. That is simply unacceptable and we, as a nation, need to do better, we need to want to do better. We need to take responsibility for our own actions and that applies to all genders, but women seem to be the particular target for violence, assault, attacks and sexual harassment.
Dua Lipa’s Boys Will Be Boys has been playing on repeat on my Spotify for the past while, the lyrics speak to me, but then again that doesn’t mean everyone is a fan of the song. “If you’re offended by this song, you’re clearly doing something wrong” holds such an important message; one that some males turn their noses up at instead of embracing it and wanting to create a safer environment for their female friends, family members and people who are yet to be welcomed into this world.
Here is what I think we can do as a nation to protect ourselves; we need to intervene if we see someone in distress, we need to talk to each other more openly about subjects that we find it quite hard to converse about, we need to spend less time alone and walk-in groups whenever we can, we need to stick to the well-lit or crowded areas where people are around no matter if it’s day time or night time. We live in a society where women fear for their lives, but this isn’t going to be a permanent thing. Educate yourselves, learn to do better for women and build our trust and confidence again in feeling safe while we’re out in the world. Stop saying that ‘boys will be boys.’ Someone’s gender doesn’t give them free reign over what they want to do when they feel like it, it’s not boys being just boys, it’s just boys not being educated properly.