herald

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Rape rise due to teen drinking and porn

RAPE campaigners have blamed the rise in sexual violence on excessive drinking and over- exposure to pornography among our teenagers.

The Rape Crisis Network of Ireland (RCNI) said young people were being exposed to much more porn than is realised.

The comments were made at the launch of a DVD aimed at encouraging victims aged 55 and over to attend counselling services.

The DVD was co-produced by the Older Women's Network (OWN).

Executive director of the RCNI Fiona Neary said: "Addressing sexual violence can have a very positive effect on your life now and on your future.

"The stories in this DVD of older women who have received support from a rape crisis centre attest to long years of silence and secrecy and positive impacts once they have told someone about the abuse and sought the support of a rape crisis centre.

"All survivors deserve that support no matter what their age."



Messages

The levels of sexual violence had been a "catastrophe in Irish history" that had not been officially recognised, she said.

Ms Neary also said young people were being exposed to much more pornography than is realised.

The country is "running into trouble" if the Department of Education does not start looking at programmes to address the "messages of pornography", she added.

Pornography always presents participants as "up for it" or else rape is depicted "as being enjoyable", while consent is never discussed, she said.

The education system does not include programmes to tackle the messages in pornography, Ms Neary said.

"When you combine alcohol consumption with that, it is like watching a car crash," she added.



Survivors

It was revealed that 123 people aged over 55 attended a rape crisis centre in 2010.

About 100 (82pc) of those were victims of sexual violence, out of which 75 were women.

More than one-in-two (54.7pc) of the women said the sexual violence took place in their own homes.

Almost 80pc of all those who were victims in childhood revealed that the abuse was carried out over many years.

In addition, 90pc of older survivors knew their abusers.

OWN chairwoman Breid Morris said: "Women who have managed, through a variety of means, to hold their past in check for decades so that they could raise children, work and contribute to the community may have not recognised the impact of sexual abuse on their lives.

"We hope this message will give older women an opportunity to have their stories heard."

comurphy@herald.ie

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