'We need to change the narrative on violence against women'

‘We need to change the narrative on violence against women’

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  • The world has been mourning the death of Ashling Murphy, a 23-year-old primary school teacher who was attacked on Wednesday afternoon in County Offaly, Ireland.

    Murphy was attacked while running, and police confirmed at a news conference that she suffered serious injuries “consistent with assault.” She was found by a member of the public who alerted emergency services, but tragically died at the scene.

    Members of the public leave flowers at the scene of Ashling Murphy’s murder. Fake images.

    Vigils will be held across Ireland this weekend, with women and men taking to the streets and online to express their grief and anger.

    “We want an end to men’s violence against women,” Orla O’Connor, director of the National Council of Women in Ireland, told the BBC. ‘A lot of anger and frustration has been expressed. This has really triggered past experiences of physical and sexual violence that women have had.’

    She continued: ‘It also really shows how much women limit their lives due to fear and the threat of violence. Here was a young woman who went for a run during the day when everyone expected to be safe.

    Well wishes on the vigil for Sarah Everard. fake images

    “She was just going to run,” read thousands of tweets and signs mourning Murphy and highlighting the safety her choices should have given her. But these very words have created a global debate around the narrative we use about violence against women.

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    Should it really matter what he was doing? Nothing would justify his murder.

    Sarah Everard’s vigil. Fake images.

    Sarah Everard’s vigil. fake images

    “It doesn’t matter who she is, it doesn’t matter where she was, it doesn’t matter what time of day it is,” Irish Deputy Minister Leo Varadkar announced. ‘It’s never justified, it’s always wrong’.

    Feminist activist Laura Bates has spoken out about the need to change the narrative on violence against women, with her powerful words shared online today.

    “I understand why people post ‘she was going to run.'” I understand why “she was just walking home” and “she did all the right things” after Sarah Everard’s death,” Bates posted in a statement on social media. “I know it comes from a place of hurt and anger. But no matter what they were doing.

    He continued: “When we say ‘she was just doing this’ or ‘she was just doing that’, it suggests that the case would not have been as horrific or tragic if she had been doing something else. As if she were walking down an alley at 2am, or going to meet her married lover or a sex work client, or if she was drunk or had taken drugs… as if she were a little less horrible under those circumstances. And it devalues ​​women’s lives. Play with this insidious narrative of the perfect victim who deserves our sympathy and our pain because he did absolutely everything right.

    ‘She didn’t deserve it. Of course she fucking didn’t. But when we say that, no matter how inadvertent, there is little unspoken indication that some women deserve it. A little reinforcement of the rules that bind us so tightly we can’t breathe, because if we step outside of them, we know people will think we deserve our own deaths. A tiny dehumanization plus a million other little cuts. It doesn’t matter what she was doing. No matter. I shouldn’t be dead.

    It’s 2022 and we need to have these kinds of discussions.

    Let us know your thoughts @MarieClaireUK.

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