Not Safe For Women

at

oconnellstreetgarygannon

From top: O’Connell Street, Dublin: Gary Gannon

Most Irish women avoid certain places for fear of harassment or violence.

Gary Gannon writes:

Our city isn’t safe. Since the recent spate of killings through Dublin, this has been the mantra of both the tabloids and the broadsheet media.

Crime was a major election issue, the calls for greater Garda resources ever present in early morning radio talk shows. I have spoken many times on the issue, in print media and on radio.

I’ve called for more resources for education, for community youth programmes. I’ve fought hard against a narrative which I believe demonises my hard working and vibrant city centre community.

I’ve used this column to deal with the issues of reproductive rights and violence against women before. Women’s equality is a passion of mine, and I am conscious of always trying to advocate for feminist policies as an elected public representative.

And yet, when I talk about crime, and demand long term thinking on crime prevention from our political and community leaders, I don’t mainstream gender into my thinking.

The city isn’t safe is is a mantra I fight, when discussing the Hutch-Kinehan ‘feud’, yet it is true for so many women in Dublin.

Sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence in public spaces is a serious problem throughout the EU, with one in five women reporting that they have experienced sexual or physical violence since the age of 15.

Research from the EU Fundamental Rights Agenda shows us that the problem is even worse in Ireland, with one in three Irish women reporting such an experience.

Because street harassment is so prevalent, the fear of violence is ever present, with 52% of women in Ireland reporting that they avoid certain places or situations for fear of harassment or violence. This figure is the second highest in the EU.

It’s hard to imagine what it must be like to walk down the street, and never feel truly safe. And yet, that is exactly what these figures mean for the majority of women in Ireland, that their freedom to full participate in society is curtailed by a fear of violence.

A Dublin City Council report into sexual harassment in Dublin City was completed in 2015. The study findings show that sexual harassment is a frequent and distressing occurrence for women and girls in Dublin City, and captured that for many women walking the streets of Dublin, cat calling, wolf whistling, and being shouted at from cars is an everyday occurrence.

I was only made aware of this report when it was highlighted in May’s edition of ‘The Dublin Inquirer’. It has yet to be presented to City Councillors and nor has it featured as a topic on the Joint Policing Committee. In fact there doesn’t appear to have been any follow up on the findings of this report.

There exist practical suggestions in this report which if implemented could vastly improve the level of safety that many people as they engage with our city.

Improving street lighting, confronting dereliction and reorganising pedestrian spaces and parks so that they can contribute to urban safety are just of the recommendations that were made.

In addition there was also a call for a public awareness campaign expressing a zero tolerance attitude for sexual harassment on our streets.

It was also suggested that councils should take the lead in providing educational programmes for the employees of State agencies, the Gardaì and schools to make clear what exactly constitutes sexual harassment on our streets.

That men’s sexual harassment of women and girls has become normalised is indicative of a culture which allows men’s violence against women to flourish.

Throughout the recession, we have witnessed frontline violence against women services being cut to skeletal levels, with some being forced to close their doors.

As one in five women experience sexual or domestic abuse in their lifetime, we still only have one third the recommended refuge spaces for women.

Budget 2017 affords our government once again the opportunity to ringfence funding that can finally lead to the implementation of the Istanbul Convention which leaves no room for doubt; it is the obligation of the state to fully address violence against women in all its forms and to take measures to prevent it, protect its victims and prosecute the perpetrators.

In 2013, Dublin became the first city in the developed world to join the UN Women’s Safe Cities Programme. In doing so our State has already recognised the need to take much greater consideration of gender in our public and planning policy but action rather than lip service must be the culmination of this positive step.

When we talk about crime, we need to ensure that long term planning is our focus as well as crime prevention. We also need to ensure that long term thinking incorporates ways of making cities safer for women to go about their everyday life.

Gary Gannon is a Social Democrats Councillor on Dublin City Counicil for Dublin’s North Inner City. His column appears here every Friday usually before lunch. Follow Gary on Twitter: @1garygannon

Rollingnews

108 thoughts on “Not Safe For Women

  1. Owen C

    This is confused. It mixes between entirely legal if questionable behaviour such as cat calling and wolf whistling, first with issues surrounding non violent sexual harassment, and then with actual violence or physical abuse. It’s a mess of an argument. Yes, there needs to be more done to reduce violence against women and make them feel safer on our streets. But the argument made above is just confusing. It’s a kinda “oh more must be done about lots of stuff” which doesn’t really suggest anything remotely specific in the end.

    1. Caroline™

      Somewhat agree on your first point but there are numerous specific recommendations for action that he points to. The report linked to has some more.

      1. Faecal Matters

        it;s horrible sexist rubbish.

        Why can’t the streets be made safe for all citizens, whether they choose to be women or otherwise?

          1. Faecal Matters

            Try writing in sentences containing English and full words.
            I can’t understand your txtspeak babble.

  2. Sheik Yahbouti

    Fair play. Not many blokes are unconcerned by the “mangina – feminazi etc., tag. There’ll be the usual here, spouting the usual.

  3. Tony

    It is safe, its not safe, its kinda safe but don’t call it unsafe. Quoting selective figures to support a badly made argument about how he supports women. No more than Frilly, you seem to have been in a bit of a rush to get your cloak on this morning SuperGary.

  4. human

    GTFO why is this guy importing this nonsense from SJW’s from the USA.

    Gary Gannon needs log off for awhile and go speak to the people he claims to represent.

        1. Faecal Matters

          Perhaps. I mean the general election. He lost out by a tragic hair’s breath. How awful we have been deprived of this stellar gentleman who represents at least 50% of the population.

          1. BobbyJ

            So, you’re wrong. He won election to Dublin City Council. He represents constituents of the Dublin North Inner City Local Area

  5. ivan

    I can’t copy/paste instances as I’m using phone (Android) app but he needs a proofreader.

    ‘mainstream’ is NOT a verb, is it?

    1. Faecal Matters

      It’s commonly used as a verb lately. Whether that meets your exacting grammatical standards I’ll leave 2U.

    2. Kerri Ann

      The linguist GM Dalglish was using it as a verb as early as 1982. I think if something can be used and understood as a verb, there’s little point in making a stand against it.

      1. ivan

        Genuinely never heard/saw it before so I stand corrected.

        It’s not my intention to come across all Disgusted in Tunbridge Wells*. I do still reckon it’s rather an ugly use and I’m not convinced it assists in clarity of expression, but other opinions are, as ever, available.

        * what’s the local equivalent?

  6. Cian

    WTF? *You* are a Dublin City Councillor. Many of these problems can be fixed by *Dublin City Council*.
    Do your job as a councillor. Stop blaming ‘the government’.

    1. Faecal Matters

      Why? WTF would he be doing that for when he can just make noise and rattle oul pots and cups and saucepans on this empty post-hipster fun-porium?

    2. Sheik Yahbouti

      Cian, excellent post which every Dublin dweller can support. Get off your arse, Ginge and, together with your colleagues, do something real and practical to make our streets safe for everybody.

    3. RTFA

      “A Dublin City Council report into sexual harassment in Dublin City was completed in 2015… I was only made aware of this report when it was highlighted in May’s edition of ‘The Dublin Inquirer’. It has yet to be presented to City Councillors and nor has it featured as a topic on the Joint Policing Committee. In fact there doesn’t appear to have been any follow up on the findings of this report.”

      1. Cian

        I’m not sure why you quoted a section of the original article, without comment.

        Another part said “There exist practical suggestions in this report which if implemented could vastly improve the level of safety that many people as they engage with our city.
        Improving street lighting, confronting dereliction and reorganising pedestrian spaces and parks so that they can contribute to urban safety are just of the recommendations that were made.”

        So why doesn’t *He* as a Councillor actually do something to get these suggestions implemented? *He* is the Dublin City Councillor. *He* has the power to get them implemented. But he’s just writing BS articles.

        1. RTFA

          Because it’s a council report. The council commissioned the report and has been sitting on it since 2015. It hasn’t been put before the councillors for debate, discussion or action. Presumably Gary’s writing articles to bring wider public attention to this. If the answer is as obvious as: table someone else’s report yourself and go on a solo run, Gary, then he’s gonna look a bit of a plonker, having just criticised the council for not doing that. So the safe money says the answer isn’t as simple as that.

  7. Leopold Gloom

    The city is a sh*thole Gary. Sure there are good people, there are some decent spots, but it’s a big ol pile of poo.

    Its a poorly planned, horribly managed, clusterf*ck of a city. Ghettos were built, and neglected. Building destroyed for horrible concrete blocks, trams needless ripped up only for decade later to have a w*nk load of money to be out back in and they’ll still only serve a a bit of the city.

    Were not allowed build up, so IFSC and sheriff street area have stupid amounts of conglomerates and finance cos who said they’d reinvest in the area and theyve done tw*t all.

    Go down to mayor street. All the families who were moved for the sake of businesses are an afterthought. Apartments hidden in behind hotels and buildings, no safe areas for kids, looked down on by the workers coming and going, forgot about when they’ve clocked off and gone to burbs.

    Dublin is a pit, Irelands a bigger pit and were all collectively shagged and should be ashamed its come this far

      1. Tony

        Dublin is a fantastic capital city in a modern thriving country. It consistently ranks as one of the best, safest, friendliest cities in the world. Its got loads of choices, loads of work and it is receiving huge investment to make it even better. It has the same amount of social problems as another city of 2m and we have an elected council dealing with that.

          1. Tony

            No he wasn’t. Stop mansplaining. He was like a whinging, hungover, entitled, lazy, blaming, selfish twit who was puking his discontent all over the web.

          2. Leopold Gloom

            You’re not wrong about the hangover, but hey a good friend got married yesterday so needs must.

            Its receiving huge investment, but not particularly in any new or well thought out manner. The luas cost and time is an embarrassment. The neglect of so many areas, the willingness to listen to people in certain postcodes more than others, the back slapping and self congratulations is all embarrassing
            I said there are good spots, good independent coffee shops, decent pubs, ifi and lighthouse cinema but there’s about a dozen Starbucks within 10 minutes walk from me.

            Apparently that’s progress. If that’s progress then I know were shagged.

            The roads are pot hole riddled. There is piss all cycling infrastructure. Our public transport functions but is frankly a bit crap compared to other cities. We had great community projects like mabos shafted by other interests and the cycle repeats ad infinitum.

            I should do more myself, but it becomes wearisome when you try, and try again to make a difference and it’s undone by someone else coming along an decidingthat nah, this isn’t happening as it doesn’t make money (see Manos above)

            Planning in dublin is also flipping awful.

    1. Huh?

      True (ish, by some criteria only; ignores domestic, sexual, and other violence etc).

      Let’s never talk about women’s safety again so.

      1. stick your beak in my bag

        That’s what the stats say. Young men are actually the most vulnerable in society. Most likely to be on the receiving end of violence or abuse.

  8. Jake38

    Is anyone in charge of anything in Dublin city council?

    Or, even more outrageously, is anyone accountable?

    What does the Lord Mayor do? Anyone?

  9. Feidlim MacSásta

    Gannon could claim London cabs are black and still some people would mock and jeer just because he’s a politician of the left.

    1. Tony

      No. They would probably mock and jeer because Gary would say the blackness was a sign of male patriarchy, racist transport policy and he is pro wimmin. Oh the lols.

          1. Nigel

            The primary response to the things you say yourself should not be self-loathing, Tony. Perhaps you;re doing it wrong.

          2. Tony

            I was going to ask you what you were on about and then remembered it was friday and you were draining my will to live, so I didn’t bother. Equality and peace to all, or whatevs..

  10. Kolmo

    What about the men who avoid certain areas lest they fall prey to a recreationally violent set of ferals? There are areas, including the street pictured above, where it is impossible to feel relaxed on, the only people who feel safe on o’connell st are happily oblivious tourists, god help them..

    1. ReproBertie

      What a load of nonsense. I’ve worked in the city centre for over a decade and I’ve never once felt anything but safe on O’Connell St. at anytime of the night or day. Go clutch your pearls somewhere else.

      1. DubLoony

        +1. Bit of cop on and awareness needed, as it is in any major city but its not the mayhem that is being made out.

  11. Dav

    “Research from the EU Fundamental Rights Agenda shows us that the problem is even worse in Ireland, with one in three Irish women reporting such an experience.

    Because street harassment is so prevalent, the fear of violence is ever present, with 52% of women in Ireland reporting that they avoid certain places or situations for fear of harassment or violence. This figure is the second highest in the EU.”

    They’re shocking figures to be fair, but without comparable male estimates, it’s difficult to assess if this is a gendered issue or simply a general one.

    As to the research itself, I could stand corrected, but I think this the one he’s talking about, if anyone’s interested:

    http://fra.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-and-maps/survey-data-explorer-violence-against-women-survey

    1. Clampers Outside!

      Don’t expect anyone to read that, nor spot the obvious omission. Apparently, no harm comes to men, so, sure… why bother researching it, after all, now that these guys got their EU approval everyone must swallow their stuff wholesale

      Why does an EU funded agency that is called a “Fundamental Rights Agency” which sounds like a rights for “all” agency, yes? Sure it does.

      Put this in your browser – ‘does the FRA study violence against men?’
      Check the site, look through it….

      Even more revealing is the list of research you do get. Look, everyone knows violence is wrong, but focusing on select groups for priority is wrong, to purposefully omit half the population… well….

      For balance, here’s what I consider unbiased, or ‘real’ ethical research, not mired by gender politics… The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre’s study, all walks of life – http://www.drcc.ie/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/savi.pdf

      Sample survey details are on page 99 of 392

      1. LW

        Clampers, I have to ask, do you ever read the surveys you link to? This one backs up the one-in-five statistic you spend most of your time railing against on here:

        Women: One in five women (20.4 per cent) reported experi-
        encing contact sexual assault as adults with a further one in
        twenty (5.1 per cent) reporting unwanted non-contact sexual
        experiences. Over a quarter of cases of contact abuse in adult-
        hood (i.e. 6.1 per cent of all women) involved penetrative sex.
        • Men: One in ten men (9.7 per cent) reported experiencing con-
        tact sexual assault as adults with a further 2.7 per cent report-
        ing unwanted non-contact sexual experiences. One in ten cases
        of contact abuse in adulthood (i.e. 0.9 per cent of all men) in-
        volved penetrative sex.

        Secondly, during the week you felt that a 1% difference between men and women in an opinion poll meant that more attention should be focused on women, and convincing them to support repealing the eight. Now you present research that shows 14% more women experience some form of sexual abuse or assault in their lifetime, but you have decided to remove your support from a political party that address this.

        You’re fond of the term blinkered feminism, which I take to mean focused on only one thing. What term would you use to describe someone unable to see what the statistics he uses are saying? Blindfolded?

        1. LW

          Here’s the 14% difference highlighted:

          Lifetime Experience of Sexual Abuse and Assault
          • Women: More than four in ten (42 per cent) of women re-
          ported some form of sexual abuse or assault in their lifetime.
          The most serious form of abuse, penetrative abuse, was ex-
          perienced by 10 per cent of women. Attempted penetration or
          contact abuse was experienced by 21 per cent, with a further
          10 per cent experiencing non-contact abuse.
          • Men: Over a quarter of men (28 per cent) reported some form
          of sexual abuse or assault in their lifetime. Penetrative abuse
          was experienced by 3 per cent of men. Attempted penetration
          or contact abuse was experienced by 18 per cent, with a fur-
          ther 7 per cent experiencing non-contact abuse.

          1. Clampers Outside!

            Gawd… you are annoying….

            TIME
            http://time.com/3393442/cdc-rape-numbers/

            Washington Post
            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/09/23/the-latest-big-sexual-assault-survey-is-like-others-more-hype-than-science/

            Washington Examiner
            http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/no-1-in-5-women-have-not-been-raped-on-college-campuses/article/2551980

            Politifact… on Obama
            http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/feb/16/barack-obama/barack-obama-says-nearly-1-5-women-us-has-been-rap/

            Washington Post on Obama…
            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/02/12/obamas-claim-that-one-in-five-american-women-have-been-raped/

            Remember to the criticisms of the CDC study around the question on alcohol…
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNsJ1DhqQ-s

            Washington Post… earlier problems with the CDC study…
            https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/cdc-study-on-sexual-violence-in-the-us-overstates-the-problem/2012/01/25/gIQAHRKPWQ_story.html?utm_term=.1f3b8b1e86d8

            Don’t take my word for it, and please don’t be son naive as to take a gender-feminist’d line on it either.

            Enjoy your reading… although, if previous form of yours is anything to go by, you won’t read any of these and when you do, you’ll probably ignore all problems in the studies.
            That’s your prerogative I guess, being ideologically lead by gender-feminism…. like religion only with priestesses whose word must be heard and taken as factual…. pull the other one!

            Egalitarianism before gender-feminism!

          2. Clampers Outside!

            Here’s another, that looks at the “studies” [ LOL! ‘studies’ ] that come out of the like of Buzzfeed or Ms…. although I think they only discuss Ms in this one….
            http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/jhamlin/3925/MythsGilbert.htm

            Do your own looking up after this… I’m tired answering your inability to see beyond what appears to your “feminist lens” view, your indoctrination, of the world.

            Egalitarianism before gender-feminism!

            Truth before advocacy!

          3. LW

            Good man Yoda. Any chance you’ll explain what this nugget meant: “the one in five that was claimed…is the 1 in 20 we see here.”. Or you could do another link-storm, in lieu of actually saying something

          4. Clampers Outside!

            It’s in the links, the 1 in 5 is claimed to be ‘rape’ and the links show how that claim is not a valid one considering the research.

            Here’s another examination of research in the area of domestic violence, I’m sure you won’t watch this, it’s got facts in it. But this goes to show how ‘advocacy’ research is damaging society… probably a waste of time posting this, you don’t have the attention span for it by the look of things… but I’ll make the effort anyway….

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9f5v1QgtFfo

            Advocacy is not pure research, advocacy is just that, ‘advocacy’, and is often flawed or biased or both… you do know that don’t you? Maybe you didn’t… which wouldn’t be surprising considering you believe all the gender-feminist propaganda.

            I’ll predict your follow up will go something like… hey “you didn’t answer my questions”, which will be funny, seeing as it is answered loads of times above and you still cannot see it.

            Nothing I can do about that, in fairness.

            Ethical research before advocacy! Truth before bias!

            Bye

          5. LW

            Clampers, on the one hand I appreciate that you’re trying to undermine the notion of gendered aptitude for maths, by showing that it’s possible for men to be truly awful with numbers. On the other hand, you’re truly awful with numbers.

            I accept, as do the authors of the CDC report, that there are issues with it, including a low response rate. However, the 1 in 5 statistic from that report is not claimed to be rape. Here’s the sentence, lifted from the conclusion:
            “One out of five undergraduate women experience an attempted or completed sexual assault during their college years”

            I assume you have multiple annotated copies of that particular study, given the pride of place it holds in your online discourse, but here’s the link anyway. Conclusions and recommendations on page 19.
            https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/221153.pdf

            If we can return to the study you originally posted, (“For balance, here’s what I consider unbiased, or ‘real’ ethical research, not mired by gender politics… The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre’s study, all walks of life”)

            “More than four in ten (42 per cent) of women reported some form of sexual abuse or assault in their lifetime. The most serious form of abuse, penetrative abuse, was experienced by 10 per cent of women. Attempted penetration or
            contact abuse was experienced by 21 per cent, with a further 10 per cent experiencing non-contact abuse.”

            Four in ten Clampers, is 2 in 5. That’s the number of women experiencing some form of sexual abuse in their lifetime.
            10 percent is 1 in 10. That’s the figure for penetrative abuse, which is rape.
            Attempted penetration or contact abuse was experienced by 21%, which is one in five.

            I didn’t watch your video, because I’m not dealing in advocacy, I’m still on your “unbiased, or ‘real’ ethical research”. Simples!

          6. Clampers Outside!

            1 in 5 is answered, if you are unwilling to look at the issues in the methodology as per all the links above, rather than the dodgy research it produced

            You want everything in a soundbite or something…. I really don’t know. Look at the last video… the one addressing the Canadian senate. if you can maintain concentration for that long and you’ll find out why these research practices, advocacy research, is not working, and it’s down to gender-feminism.

            Your own heuristics are holding you back from looking at the bigger picture, it’s not an uncommon problem, and one mentioned in that last video.

            Bye, for real this time

          7. LW

            Haha but Clampers my dear fellow, we’re not talking about the CDC research, we’re talking about the DRC! The one you presented as unbiased and real! I honestly think you’d fail the turing test at this stage. Your commitment to undermining that 9 year old study is a credit to you though, keep fighting the good fight.

            I before E! Except after C!

      2. Dav

        I’m agreeing with you, Clampers; I just think links to stats provided would be helpful, is all. What people choose to do after that is their prerogative, though I will say it’s all very simply presented without having to open a pdf :-)

        As to the SAVI survey: LW has a point, though I’d also point to p143 (“Context of Unwanted Sexual Experiences as an Adult”) where public incidents occur at a fairly even rate of one in four in both males (24.1%) and females (23.9%), however the number of females is double that of males (79 and 33 respectively). I’m not sure what to make of that exactly, I just think it’s a worthwhile stat (from a 2002 study, I should add), given the topic of street harassment.

        1. LW

          Dav, public incidences aren’t occurring at an even rate. The percentage is the breakdown of where the assaults happen. The reason the absolute number of women is higher is because significantly more women are sexually assaulted

          1. Dav

            And I’m not denying that fact, but saying that isn’t really adding anything to the conversation of street harassment that Gary brought up unless all assaults are taking place publicly. As far as i can tell, public sexual assaults are happening at an even rate between genders, based on the evidence provided anyway

          2. LW

            What? No. Roughly a quarter of all sexual assaults on males and on females happen in public. But they’re happening to women at a rate of almost 2.5 to 1. (79:33)

          3. LW

            That is, 70.5% of public sexual assaults are on women. I’m not sure what you’re saying with the even rate

          4. Dav

            Sorry, in my mid-morning stupor I took “absolute number” to mean total number of assaults, regardless of context. Yours is a fair assessment of those figures.

      1. Peter Dempsey

        Nigel, he starts with excuses about education and community development. Clever tactic as it sets the scene to paint the attackers as the real victims. Victims because they are deprived.

        1. Nigel

          Oh my God, any proposed solution that isn’t brutally violent and possibly extra-judicial is painting the attackers as victims by this standard.

          1. Peter Dempsey

            Who wants brutally violent or extra judicial punishments? I don’t. But it would be nice to see violent crime get appropriate sentencing – not a token 18 months or a suspended one. Surely you have heard other people complaining about the frequent desperate sentencing in this country?

            Gary fails to mention this.

          2. Nigel

            He also fails to make any mention of the attackers as the real victims or that it’s okay to beat up women if you’re from a disadvantaged background but that’s still somehow all you got from it.

  12. EightersGonnaEight

    Gary Gannon is not going to be elected again, so he can write all he wants for Broadsheet. Address some real issues, Gannon, you Generation Snowflake creep.

Comments are closed.