Galway based campaign hoping to encourage abuse victims to speak out.
A new campaign entitled DARE (Dating Abuse – Raising Awareness and Education) is encouraging victims of dating abuse and sexual harassment in university to publicise their stories anonymously. The campaign was launched by ProActivate Ireland on February 9th.
 
Project Author and Manager, Emma Murtagh of ProAvtivate Ireland indicated in e-mail correspondence how studies by Dr Pádraig McNeela and doctoral researcher Elaine Byrne of NUIG highlighted alarming statistics regarding sexual assault in Irish universities. 
 
“As many as 11% of women and 3% of men reported having experienced definite or suspected sexual assault while drugged or drunk in the year previous to the survey, while 25% of female students reported being subject to attempted or completed sexual assault in their lifetime,” said Emma. 
 
Although not directly linked to the campaign, the research helped inspire the idea of it: to publish victims’ stories anonymously and safely to www.daretospeakout.com.
 
The research demonstrated a “glaring lack of education and awareness about safe, consensual sex in young relationships,” according to Emma. 
 
The publishing of stories will hopefully “demonstrate to the young people of Galway that issues around abuse, consent and harassment are not things that just happen elsewhere and to other people, they are happening right now on our campuses and in our communities and it is only through education and awareness that we can hope to prevent young people from falling into what is all too often a cycle of abuse,” she said.
 
 
So how can you participate?
 
People are invited to post their stories on the site, where they can read the stories of others. The more stories, the more discussion will occur and hopefully this Galway-based campaign will help raise awareness around the issues of abuse experienced by others in and out of relationships and the matter of consent.
 
Emma hopes that the campaign will be supported through social media. Check out the campaign on Facebook, on Instagram and on Tumblr.
 
The campaign will continue for the rest of this month and throughout March. So go on, DARE to speak out!