Major broadcasting campaign aimed at tackling sexual violence launched

Major broadcasting campaign aimed at tackling sexual violence launched

A major broadcasting campaign aimed at tackling Ireland’s “disturbingly high levels” of sexual harassment and violence will be aired on Friday.

The national No Excuses campaign will run for three years, with TV, cinema, radio and social media ads featuring men and women victims and perpetrators.

Ireland has the highest level of sexual harassment claims in Europe, with 32% of Irish women between the ages of 18 and 34 experiencing some form of sexual harassment in the last year.

The ads cover a number of scenarios including sexual harassment in the workplace, unwanted physical attention at a bar and an attempt to coerce a partner into unwanted sexual activity.

Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) welcomed the national awareness campaign which was launched by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, today.

Dr Cliona Saidlear, RCNI executive director, said: “Everyone has the right to walk in freedom without fear or threat of sexual violence.

“The RCNI are calling for a change in our culture that recognises that tolerance and excuses for sexually inappropriate behaviour is not acceptable.

“The government’s campaign is a statement of intent by this government challenging this culture of excuses and making it the business of everyone including the government and the highest formal authorities of our land.

“For RCNI this campaign is a clear statement of solidarity by our government with the 15-year-old girl who somewhere in Ireland this morning found herself uncomfortable and upset by a comment, a touch, an approach or a suggestion but is unsure if she can say anything.

“The message we want this girl, and anyone affected, to hear from everyone around her is that we will not tolerate what was done to her or try to excuse it. We will believe you and we will take it seriously.”

Mr Flanagan said he wanted to spark a conversation across Irish society.

“Research has shown that Ireland suffers from disturbingly high levels of sexual harassment and sexual violence,” he added.

“We have on a daily basis, on a nightly basis, behaviour which is unacceptable.

“Often times it goes without comment, or unfortunately and regrettably taken for granted. We need to change attitudes because much of behaviour in terms of sexual harassment, sexual violence is clearly unacceptable and criminal.”

Mr Flanagan said he was concerned there is an under-reporting of sexual crimes, adding that he is “very keen” that changes.

He added: “People who are in positions of vulnerability or abused, subjected to harassment even violence, should be comfortable in reporting and again what we are beginning here is a national conversation to build awareness in order to ensure that where there are criminal events or activity, that it can be reported and that the rule of law will uptake.”

- Press Association

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