If your first reaction is to say “not all men”, you’re missing the point 6 days ago

If your first reaction is to say “not all men”, you’re missing the point

She was going for a run.

“Men get attacked too.”
“Not all men.”
“I’m a man and I’ve walked with my keys in my fist as well.”
“She shouldn’t be out in that area.”
“Maybe if she didn’t dress that way.”
“She shouldn’t have been drinking so much.”
“She was asking for it.”

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Just stop. And listen.

If your first reaction to an attack on a woman is to say any of these things out loud, then you’re part of the problem.

A moment of senseless violence has robbed a family of their successful, talented and wonderful daughter.

A moment of senseless violence once again perpetrated against a woman. In broad daylight. While she was running after work. In an area Gardaí said is “widely used for recreational purposes”.

She was going for a run.

She was going for a run.

Tributes have poured in for Ashling Murphy, the 23-year-old woman, the talented musician, the educator, who was murdered on Wednesday.

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Equally, women have been sharing their experiences online about the steps they’ve taken when out in public. Steps like being aware of their surrounds. Carrying their keys in their hands. Changing routes while walking home.

She was going for a run.

It’s 2022 and we’re still talking about “safety tips” for women to make sure they’re not murdered on a walk back from the shops. From a trip to the gym. From meeting friends. From daring to exercise outside.

She was going for a run.

Of course it’s “Not all men”. But if that’s your attitude then you’re completely missing the point. It’s enough men. It’s too many men. It’s always men.

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“Women are not afraid of the dark or a lonely space,” Women’s Aid CEO, Sarah Benson said on Thursday.

“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.”

So why are so many men, particularly online, defensive when women raise this issue? Of course it’s not aimed at you directly. It’s aimed at the minority of men who believe it’s OK to attack women. It’s not an assassination of men’s characters.

So let’s call this what it is. It’s not violence against women. It’s male violence against women. Something like this cannot be addressed if we constantly misname it. Call it what it is. Men killing women.

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She was going for a run.

 

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