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Instead of asking 'Why didn't she leave', ask 'Why did he hit her?' - domestic violence survivor

Emma Murphy said the gardaí involved in her case were “amazing” and she “can’t thank them enough”.

emma Emma Murphy Source: Twitter/Late Late Show

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACTIVIST Emma Murphy has criticised people who place blame on abuse victims.

Speaking on the Late Late Show, Murphy said: “Victim blaming in Ireland is really, really bad. Constantly we are blaming victims.

“‘Why didn’t she leave? Why did she accept that? Why didn’t she walk away the first time?’ Why don’t we change that around and start asking the question of ‘Why did he hit her? Why did he do this?’ Because that’s a choice.”

Video won’t play? Click here.

Murphy said this practice could change if more people speak about domestic violence – among families and in schools and universities, noting: “Wherever we can talk about this, have this conversation.”

In October, Murphy’s former partner Francis Usanga was found guilty of attacking her. Murphy, a mother of two, had told Dublin District Court she was punched in the face in front of their children when she confronted Usanga about cheating.

He had denied the claims but was found guilty and ordered to carry out 100 hours of community service in lieu of a five-month jail sentence.

Murphy told Ryan Tubridy she was “terrified” on the day she was attacked. She said went to her family for help and reported the incident to gardaí.

‘The guards were amazing’

Murphy said the slow progress of domestic violence cases through the courts is a “disgrace”, noting she waited two and a half years for her case to come to a conclusion.

“My mental health, up and down, up and down, walking in and out of courtrooms. I never want to see a courtroom ever again.

If it wasn’t for the detective dealing with my case, I probably wouldn’t have got through this. The guards were amazing and I can’t thank them enough.

She was grateful for the guilty verdict, she added, because it meant the system had acknowledged that domestic violence is wrong.

In 2015, a Facebook video Murphy made about the abuse she suffered went viral. She said sharing the video was “massive and probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make in my life” but was her means of “escape”.

I was putting myself out there in such a vulnerable position. I was putting myself out there looking a state. I had a black eye, I was emotional, I was very, very weak at the time.

“I was just a mess so putting yourself out there on social media was a huge thing but I did it because I wanted to be happy. I just wanted to be happy. I knew that I would never go back there. I knew that was it, that was the final door for me. Posting this video was my escape, I knew from the moment I pressed post that that was it.”

Support

If you have been affected by domestic abuse and would like to talk, contact the below numbers or visit SafeIreland.ie.

  • Women’s Aid: 1800 341 900
  • Amen (for men): 046 902 3718

Read: ‘Men tolerate abuse’: Over 5,000 reports of domestic abuse against men made in 2016

Read: A US plan to reduce domestic violence and murder may be rolled out in Clare

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