Men’s violence towards women – whose problem is it anyway?
“We need this law because we can’t just wait for men not to buy vulnerable women, men and children” announced Alan O’Neill, CEO of The Men’s Development Network (MDN), at the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign’s (TORL) event last week. The event, which was attended by representatives from Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Labour party, honoured the passing of the Sexual Offences Act, 2017.
The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, delivered a memorable speech at the event, commenting that the new laws would “send a message” that buyers of sex are responsible for “the exploitation of persons through prostitution”.
“We are targeting those who demand these services because it is their behaviour that supports the exploitation of others and that can no longer be ignored.” Tánaiste Francis Fitzgerald at TORL event
She added: “I am very pleased that when these provisions are commenced – which will be very shortly – and in line with the growing support for this type of reform, Ireland will be the seventh jurisdiction to introduce laws targeting the purchase while decriminalising those who provide the sexual service….we are targeting those who demand these services because it is their behaviour that supports the exploitation of others and that can no longer be ignored.”
The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 is the culmination of a long campaign by many groups and activists to fight the abuse and exploitation which is so widely associated with prostitution.
“Men struggle in lots of areas: unemployment, awareness, how they’ve been conditioned, how they’ve been brought up and the misinformation that they’ve been given.” Alan O’Neill, CEO of MDN
Through its range of community development work and training across Ireland, The Men’s Development Network (MDN) has been actively advocating for the health, development and wellbeing of Irish men since 2002.
The MDN deliver programmes in development, health, training, violence intervention, counselling and gender equality. ‘Men struggle in lots of areas’, says O’Neill, ‘unemployment, awareness, how they’ve been conditioned, how they’ve been brought up and the misinformation that they’ve been given…our programmes try to address all of that.’
“It’s very important not to leave the word ‘men’ out, otherwise the perpetrators become invisible.” Alan O’Neill, CEO of MDN
“Young men use misogyny and objectification so that they can avoid a meaningful relationship….feminism is not about females being powerful, it’s about redressing a balance and it’s about equality.”Blindboy Boatclub, Rubberbandits