Sinead Desmond, Presenter, Ireland AM, TV3, supports the 16 Days Campaign

Domestic abuse is something we are still afraid to talk about in Ireland. But Women’s Aid is changing that. Their helpline offers real support and the chance to leave behind a life of violent abuse to women who feel as if they have nowhere to turn. Thanks to Women’s Aid, women who are victims of domestic abuse can become survivors of domestic abuse. Whether it be physical or mental or both, whether there are children involved or not.

Domestic abuse is completely and totally unacceptable. No Irish woman should feel they have to remain in a relationship in which they are being abused.

Every year thousands of women pick up the phone and call Women’s Aid and receive the advice, support and knowledge to enable them to start a new life free from the abuse that they have been subjected to.

Domestic abuse happens every day in Ireland, one in five of us will at some stage of our lives be a victim of it. Yet because of the nature of the abuse the average woman will be hit or beaten 35 times before she seeks help; this is not a reflection on the women. Domestic violence is only the fault of the perpetrator, nobody but the men who choose to beat, rape and abuse their wives, girlfriends and partners are to blame for the brutality experienced in one in five Irish homes.

And the fact that women will remain in violent relationships for often long periods of time is due to the all consuming and very real fear that victims live in. Many women are convinced that they will be killed if they even try to leave. Many do not get the chance to leave. Of the 159 female murders in Ireland over the last 13 years over half of the resolved cases were committed by a current or former partner. Every year Irish men subject Irish women to the most awful abuse, and if it were not for organisations like Women’s Aid these women would have nowhere to turn. Thankfully because Women’s Aid reaches out to them they do.

Many of us have seen women struggle to escape domestic abuse and for those of you who have not you may not realise it but chances are you already know someone who is a victim of abuse. It might be one of your friends, a family member or a work colleague. So domestic abuse is an issue for all women, not just those living in fear, which is why I wholeheartedly support the Women’s Aid 16 Days of Action Campaign.

It is time for us to talk about what goes on behind closed doors and to put an end to the abuse. No women should ever have to suffer domestic abuse. But there is life after an abusive relationship, and Women’s Aid helps women to make that journey. If you or someone you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse phone the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900 7 Days a week 10am – 10pm. You can make it all end now, just pick up the phone.

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