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Partners or exes responsible for one quarter of sex attacks on women

Despite the prevalence of these attacks, there has been just one marital rape conviction in nearly a quarter of a century.
May 9th 2014, 8:29 AM 9,371 32

SUPPORT GROUPS FOR victims of sexual violence have said almost one quarter of perpetrators of sexual attacks on women in Ireland are intimate partners of exes.

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre and Women’s Aid launched a new campaign aimed at encouraging women to report rapes by boyfriends, husbands, or ex-partners.

Speaking at the launch, Director of Women’s Aid, Margaret Martin said EU-wide research has shown under-reporting of sexual violence in relationships is significant and respondents in Ireland report particularly low levels of help-seeking.

“The extent to which women recognise that rape by an intimate partner is a crime is one factor in reporting,” she said. “So we’ve launched this campaign to help women overcome the shame and fear associated with this crime, and to highlight the support that is available.”

Ellen O’Malley Dunlop, CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre said there is a common misconception that sexual violence is mainly perpetrated by strangers when in reality, women are at risk of sexual violence from partners, exes or someone they know.

Despite the prevalence of sex attacks within relationships, there has been just one marital rape conviction in nearly a quarter of a century since the law has been on the statute books.

Over half of women raped by their partner experienced more than one incident of sexual violence and one third of victims experienced six or more incidents of rape by their current partner.

O’Malley Dunlop said that for a quarter of victims, feeling ashamed or embarrassed about what happened stopped them from reporting the crime or seeking help. The ‘Not happily ever after’ campaign aims to “challenge the culture of victim blaming”.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual violence, you can contact the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre on 1800 778 888 or Women’s Aid on 1800 341 900.

Read: Being named is “a big punishment” for man who sexually assaulted teen>

Read: Male students and teachers at French school to give DNA sample after toilet rape>

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Michelle Hennessy

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