Minister Josepha Madigan tells Dáil she is a survivor of sexual assault 3 months ago

Minister Josepha Madigan tells Dáil she is a survivor of sexual assault

"It was, and is, a lot more common than many believe."

Fine Gael TD Josepha Madigan has spoken publicly about her experience with sexual violence.

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Madigan, who is the Minister for State with responsibility for Special Education and Inclusion, told the members of Government that she is a survivor of sexual assault during a discussion on gender-based violence.

Ms Madigan said: "I am old enough to know that there are very few women my age that have not been subjected to some form of sexual assault and I know this because I am one of them.

"It won't come as a surprise to those of us of a similar age who have suffered this trauma. And sometimes we have suffered it more than once. It was, and is, a lot more common than many believe.

"Most victims do not report their crimes. I always takes statistics that I read with a pinch of salt. It is important to say that not all abuse is continuous. There can be isolated incidents that can be just as damaging.

"No doubt there is someone watching this speech, somewhere near to you at this very moment, where some form of sexual violation is taking place."

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The Dublin Rathdown TD said that increased reports of gender-based violence is "emerging as a dark feature of this pandemic", but said that it is a "challenge to our values, our resilience and our shared humanity."

Ms Madigan spoke about how, in many cases, the perpetrator of domestic abuse is someone known to the victim.

"The scary part about sexual assault in particular, is that it is not always the random monster in the middle of the night, but often a friend, or a spouse, or an acquaintance, or someone you know. It is a corrosive blight on female safety and morale."

The Minister then quoted a line from the Eurythmics song Sexcrime: "And so I face the wall. Turn my back against it all. How I wish I'd been unborn. Wish I wasn't living here."

The TD called for the establishment of a special Oireachtas committee to tackle the issue of gender inequality.

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If you have been affected by any of the details of this story, you can contact Women's Aid's 24 hour helpline on 1800 341 900 and the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre on  1800 77 8888.