Leona will lead women’s work walk-out

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LIMERICK abuse survivor and founder of Survivors Support Anonymous, Leona O’Callaghan is one of the people organising events, including a work walk-out for International Women’s Day.
Leona O'Callaghan. Pic: Cian Reinhardt

LIMERICK abuse survivor and founder of Survivors Support Anonymous, Leona O’Callaghan is one of the people organising events, including a work walk-out for International Women’s Day.

Trade and student unions are also calling for action on International Women’s Day, March 8, on the issue of gender-based violence and the gender pay gap.

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Meawhile ROSA, the socialist feminist movement, has organised a demonstration for Limerick city on the day.

“The agreed main theme of the event will be to highlight, and demand an end to, gender-based violence and harassment. This comes after a series of high-profile cases in the last year highlighted the appallingly inadequate sentencing and conviction rates for sexual and violent offenders in the country,” a spokeswoman for ROSA said.

The demonstration will take place at 3pm with speakers and entertainment on Thomas St in Limerick City Centre.

Following on from high profile cases of victim blaming tactics in rape trials, the national student body, USI, is supporting the call for walkouts and protests in cities at 3pm to demand action on violence against women.

Unite Union is also calling on workers to protest the gender pay gap at 3.25pm that day in a #Time4Equality campaign. The union says this is the time women are actually being paid until in comparison to male workers.

Speaking the launch, Ms O’Callaghan said that her abuser was sentenced to 18 years last year for sexual crimes committed against her as a child.

“Bias, blame and unfairness were at the heart of my experience,” she declared.

“Despite support and media coverage around the #Metoo movement and #ThisIsNot Consent protests last year, only a matter of months ago I stood in an Irish Court where my abuser’s defense were permitted to indicate that I, as a child, had given a sign of consent due to not physically fighting back during rapes on me.

“We do not have sufficient legislation to adequately deal with the issue of consent. We remain participants in a victim-blaming Ireland where the perpetrator has the right to legal representation, but victims and survivors do not”.