National organisation Woman’s Aid launched its new campaign #TooIntoYou Wednesday 23rd of October. The organisation, which offers support and information to women experiencing domestic violence and dating abuses, is running the campaign until 25th of November. Previously this year, under the Domestic Violent Act 2018, new laws were introduced and meant that women experiencing abuse in dating relationships can now apply for Safety and Protection orders.
Despite this, Woman’s Aid do not believe that enough young women are aware of this or how to go about getting the protection they need. In response, the organisation has launched a free ‘Guide to Safety Orders in Dating Relationships’. Additionally, the November campaign includes the ’10 Key Danger Signs of Dating Abuse’ and provides information to combat online stalking and digital abuse. Technology takes on a huge role in relationships today and Woman’s Aid are hearing more and more from young woman about their experience with stalking and boyfriends monitoring and controlling girls via social media.
Sarah Benson, CEO of Women’s Aid elaborated more on these experiences; “For 45 years Women’s Aid has supported many thousands of women experiencing domestic violence, and while harassment/stalking has always been one of the forms of abuse that women reported to us, with the development of information and communications technology new forms of harassment have become common and we increasingly hear about cyber-harassment/stalking and image based sexual abuse.”
“Abusers also use the internet and mobile phones to monitor where a woman is, what she does and whom she meets, at times even resorting to specific software packages to spy on the victim and find out about internet and bank account passwords or her whereabouts. Consequences for victims can be very severe both psychologically and practically. At the time their physical safety may be seriously imperilled. Women need full protection urgently from this insidious and harmful abuse”
In 2018 there were 19,089 contacts with Women’s Aid direct services and 20,722 disclosures of domestic abuse against women and children. The most common forms of cyber-harassment heard about are; harmful, untrue rumours being spread about women both personally and professionally, sexually explicit/pornographic pictures uploaded both on Facebook and the internet more generally, and advertising them as escorts without their consent or knowledge.
Women’s Aid welcomes the current joint Oireachtas justice committee hearings on online harassment and harmful communications which Women’s Aid made a submission to.
In a national survey on domestic abuse, almost 60% of people who had experienced severe abuse in intimate relationships experienced the abuse for the first time under the age of 25. (National Crime Council 2005). 39% of young women (aged 18-29) in Ireland have experienced emotional abuse by a boyfriend or partner (FRA, EU Wide Survey, 2014). The same study on violence against women showed that 12% of Irish women and girls over the age of 15 had experienced stalking with 50% being stalked, physically and online, by a partner or ex.
40 women aged between 18 and 25 years old have been murdered in the Republic of Ireland since 1996. Of the resolved cases, 52% of women were murdered by a boyfriend or former partner. (Women’s Aid Femicide Watch 2018)
Ambassador for the campaign, Bláthnaid Treacy, RTÉ TV and radio presenter encourages every young woman to give the quiz a go. Bláthnaid says: “The dating landscape has changed a lot, even in just the last few years and Women’s Aid has adapted too with the #TooIntoYou campaign. I am honoured to be an ambassador for this campaign as it is specifically aimed at young women. We want to let young women know exactly what dating abuse is and to be able to recognise the signs, so they know whether or not they are getting into a healthy or unhealthy relationship.’’
The guides, quizzes and more information can be found on www.toointo.ie The Woman’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900 is available 7 days a week.