An online seminar on how to end gender-based violence was interrupted by a cyber-flasher sharing a naked image — the second incident of its kind in the past fortnight.
The Zoom seminar was chaired by People Before Profit councillor Antoinette Wallace and addressed by chief executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Noeline Blackwell, and the director of the National Women’s Council Orla O’Connor, when it was hijacked on Tuesday night.
It follows a recent online vigil in memory of Ashling Murphy, during which an anonymous male appeared to masturbate on screen.
The 23-year-old teacher was killed while she was out for a run along the Grand Canal in Tullamore on January 12.
Cllr Wallace said this week's intrusion may have been linked to other disruptions of online events.
“One guy started blaring loud music, another started screeching, and then a man exposed himself," she said.
Crude messages were also sent on the platform during the meeting.
She questioned why people do such things on an online platform, saying it is unlikely they would do so “in the real world”.
She stressed the interruption failed to disrupt the meeting.
“After these men came on, the meeting became even more determined.”
Cllr Wallace said she had reported the incident to Zoom but had not reported it to gardaí.
In relation to the hijacking of an online vigil for Ashling Murphy, gardaí in West Cork continue to investigate the incident.
Several complaints were received from all over the country following that incident and the West Cork Protective Services Unit is leading the investigation.
One of those attending, Criodán Ó Murchú, described the incident as “a shallow attempt to undermine people, especially women, coming together to discuss how we prevent tragedies like Ashling’s from occurring again”.
He said the behaviour was a characteristic of misogyny and must be challenged in order to protect the women.
Noeline Blackwell said this week's incident was designed to create a nuisance and a disruption, but she stressed the attempt failed.
She said the event was a very important discussion about the lack of domestic violence refuges in Ireland, as well as the broader topic of violence against women.
There are nine counties that still do not have refuges for women and children. On Monday, gardaí revealed they responded to more than 48,400 domestic abuse incidents in 2021, a 10% increase on 2020.