I write this as a very dark cloud has been cast over Ireland.
Not even 24 hours ago, the body of a young woman was uncovered by a local canal. This young woman, soon identified as Ashling Murphy, was out for a run when she was randomly attacked and ultimately murdered.
The nation has been left reeling in the light of this news, even more so the women of Ireland.
It’s been a hard situation to process, and it wasn’t made any easier to digest as I logged into Twitter today. I went online only to notice something rather unsettling trending on Irish Twitter. ‘Not All Men’ top of the list, and not a trace of Ashling’s name. It made my blood boil.
Before anyone would like to point out to me that “it’s not all men” – I know this, but the majority of these crimes against women ARE committed by men. When I see hashtags such as this trending ahead of the woman who was killed, it makes me think what chance do we have?
Why is it, that, in light of such a horrific crime that men feel the need to make it about them? Or rather, make sure it’s known that this shouldn’t be about them.
For the men who busy themselves with making this point online, they are missing the real point. That violence against women is real, that misogyny exists and that women purposely cross the road when they see a man they don’t know come toward them on the street.
It’s just not enough to say that women shouldn’t go out alone or avoid certain areas at a certain time of day. That precautionary measures need to be taken (although they most certainly do) because Ashling did all the things she was ‘supposed’ to do. She went out for a run, in a public space that was made for recreational purposes. It was 4pm and there was daylight. Yet she was still the victim of a senseless attack that would take her life.
Now a family are without their daughter, primary school children without a teacher and friends that will undoubtedly miss her.
My heart hurts for her and her family.
And yes, men need to do better. As a community, we need to do better. As true allies, men must help us to call out the misogyny, speak out against the violence and rethink their own actions and language, no matter how minor they think it may be.
Ashling – I am sorry that this happened to you. I hope in your memory that we can all do better.