A UCC student’s Facebook post about the sexual harassment she experienced while out in Cork has gone viral and she says the support she's received has encouraged her to go to the Gardaí.
Laura Duncliffe was out with friends in Cork City last Sunday night for the Cork Jazz Festival when a man pulled her skirt up around her as she walked down Washington Street.
She wrote in her post that his friends “jeered him on and praised him as if that was an act he should be proud of”.
“I stood there in genuine shock and disbelief that a man in his thirties would actually do this to a 20 year old woman who, to be fair, actually looks one or two years younger. Luckily, one of my girlfriends stepped in and gave him a well deserved slap across the face,” she said.
“The fact that these little creepy perverts number one think this behaviour is okay, and secondly get away with it, is an absolute disgrace and if you have the mentality that a woman is 'asking for it' because of the item of clothing she is wearing, you really really need to reevaluate your thinking.”
The 20-year-old said she had debated posting her story to Facebook but said “was so genuinely angry and upset” that she felt compelled to do so.
Her post went viral and was picked up by local media. Laura says she has now received messages from other women who have had similar experiences on nights out. They have also been sharing their stories on the original post.
"Was in Dublin last weekend , and when I walked in the door in coppers, a fella I say about 27 came right over without saying a word and motor boated my boobs . Not one bit funny. I grabbed his hair and pulled his head back and told him never to do something like that again. The fact we have to get aggressive to defend ourselves and then be called " dry" or " a bitch" , when all we want is a bit of respect."
Laura told the Irish Examiner that she felt “mortified” after the incident:
“I felt like I had done something wrong, I was ashamed.”
She also added that while she had not planned on it, after the positive feedback she's received she now intends to make a report to the Gardaí.
“You experience it every single weekend, it’s very common and you mostly brush it off and laugh at it. You have to be prepared for it, it’s not nice at all,” she said.
“I wasn’t going to go to the gardaí with it but after getting the reaction it did I was encouraged by people to report it. I have to do it, people want to see justice done, I can’t just brush it off.
“People think that you can’t do anything because it happens so often, but that’s how people get away with it.”
She also told the Neil Prendeville Show on Red Fm that she doesn't want to tar all men with the same brush but the actions of a minority can’t be ignored.
Laura’s post in full:
“I think the last time I put up a Facebook status was 2012 but I'm so genuinely angry and upset that I feel compelled to do so. So last night for the Jazz weekend I went into town on a night out. Finished my night off in Costigans on Washington Street and there was a big group of us out.
“Me and my 2 girl friends left the bar before all our other friends as we wanted to get food so the 3 of us were on our own minus the big group. We walked passed a big group of men in their 30s outside Four Star Pizza who jeered and whistled as we walked past, which as most girls know is quite normal behaviour from drunken disorderly males after a night out, so we took no notice and walked on past them, giving them no attention.
“Suddenly, I felt one of the men come right up behind me and pull my skirt up around me. All his group of friends obviously jeered him on and praised him as if that was an act he should be proud of. I stood there in genuine shock and disbelief that a man in his thirties would actually do this to a 20 year old woman who, to be fair, actually looks one or two years younger.
“Luckily, one of my girlfriends stepped in and gave him a well deserved slap across the face.
“The appalling fact is I'm sure that a lot of other girls experience the same thing on nights out; wether(sic) it be men thinking they have the right to pass little sexual remarks, or as far as to go further and feel they have a right to put a hand on you. There was a lot of people also around Washington street who saw what happened and not one actually came over.
“The fact that these little creepy perverts number one think this behaviour is okay, and secondly get away with it, is an absolute disgrace and if you have the mentality that a woman is 'asking for it' because of the item of clothing she is wearing, you really really need to reevaluate your thinking.
“The sexualisation of woman (sic) is an utter disgrace and men actually thinking they have a right to pass little comments or give the odd grope is absolutely disgusting behaviour.
“I got such a fright that I literally froze so I was lucky that one of my girls stepped in but just to any girls reading this, if you happen to experience any of this disgusting behaviour in the future off little creeps, please don't just walk away and let him get away with it, please do something about it. I'm sure the mother/girlfriend/wife of the absolute pervert from last night would be very proud #pigs”