spunout’s guide to end violence against women

There are steps that everyone can take to build a safer society for women in this country. 
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Illustration of Ashling Murphy

The killing of Ashling Murphy has highlighted the danger of violence that women in Ireland face. Hearing about another act of violence committed by a man against a woman is frightening and upsetting. It can also leave people feeling confused and powerless, unsure of why something like this would happen or what can be done to prevent similar cases in the future. 

The truth is, preventing violent acts is about more than just being personally non-violent. There are steps that everyone can take to build a safer society for women in this country. 

Violent acts against women don’t happen in a vacuum, meaning it’s all connected and part of a much wider problem. These acts are built on top of toxic beliefs and attitudes that have a long history and are formed and repeated within family and friendship groups, at the community level, and within wider society. We must all work to educate ourselves about the harmful mentalities and behaviours that reinforce violence against women, and actively behave in ways that make our society safer. 

Challenge toxic masculinity 

Toxic masculinity refers to a collection of unhealthy beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours that many people associate with being masculine. Some of these traits can reinforce anger and aggression, while others can reinforce sexist beliefs. These are some of the ways that toxic masculinity is linked to men committing acts of violence towards women. Here are some articles that can help you learn more.  

Intervene against sexual violence 

Sexual violence is common and can be experienced by anyone, and we all have a responsibility to look out for each other. Helping someone in a situation of sexual violence can make a big difference. It is also important that we all understand what consent means and why it’s important when it comes to sex. Here are some articles that can help you learn more.  

Be actively anti-racist

Racism is deeply rooted in the structures of our society, giving privilege to mainly white people and which are biassed against people of colour. Women from ethnic minority groups in Ireland are at an even higher risk of experiencing gender-based violence. It is vital that we all work to educate ourselves about racism and actively behave in ways that are anti-racist. 

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