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17th Jan 2022

Ashling Murphy vigil organiser speaks out following cyberflashing incident

Hugh Carr

murphy vigil hijacked

“To do it during a vigil is a whole new level of sick.”

The organiser of an online vigil for Ashling Murphy is calling for the criminalisation of cyberflashing following the hijacking of an online Zoom call, where an uninvited man displayed pornography.

Vigils in tribute to Ashling Murphy following her murder have taken place both nationwide and around the world.

On Sunday evening, a Zoom meeting was organised where panelists could share music, poetry, and speeches in tribute to Ashling.

The panelists included Rosemarie Maughan, Christine O’Mahony, Emma Langford, Dr Aoife Granville, Kathy D’Arcy and Erin Darcey.

At one point during the call, however, a man appeared on camera masturbating with a username impersonating another woman on the call.

He was visible to all participants, and was quickly removed from the meeting where the vigil continued.

JOE spoke with Evie Nevin, a women’s rights activist and organiser of the Zoom event.

“I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that someone did that,” Evie said.

“Unsolicited pictures and videos are nothing new, but to do it during a vigil is a whole new level of sick.

“The fact that there is no specific cyberflashing laws in this country blew my mind when I heard that last night.

“By the end of the vigil, we all agreed that this was a call to arms to contact our public representatives and demand that they make cyberflashing a crime.

“These kinds of laws, they’re there for everybody and not just for women. So it’s in everybody’s interest that we make these things laws and that we make this country, inside, outside, offline, online, safer.”

“The event was beautiful. It was absolutely beautiful,” Evie added.

“We had a diverse range of speakers, there was music, there was poetry, there was speeches. It was just gorgeous.

“It was a really lovely tribute to Ashling because we really wanted to… Ashling brought us together, but we also wanted to pay tribute to the 243 women who have died since 1996 at the hands of men.

“It makes me sad that something that was done with the purest of intention and that was meant to be a healing space for women was violated,” she added.

Nevin said that the incident “lit a fire” under the organisers and attendees, and that other events and campaigns against cyberflashing will be organised in the future.

“There definitely is going to be a wider conversation, and we’ve all agreed that it’s something we’re going to work on and bring this issue to the fore, and try and do something about it.

“I really hope after this and such a display of how we’re violated, I really hope the men out there see this and think ‘okay, we really need to step up and pull our weight’, because at the end of the day, 99.4% of all (sexual) violence crimes are committed by men and it’s 0.06% committed by women.”

The family of Ashling Murphy have requested “privacy, space and time” to process the 23-year-old, who died following a brutal attack in Tullamore last week.

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