Church ceremony to highlight domestic violence

Two local groups have joined forces to organise a city event which will highlight the prevalence and impact of domestic violence on women and children. The issue affects one in five women in Ireland.

Galway Traveller Movement (GTM ) in partnership with Domestic Violence Response (DVR ), a community led organisation which responds to the problem in Co Galway, are holding a ceremony at the Augustinian Church on Thursday next, St Rita’s Day, at noon to take a stand against domestic violence.

The non-denominational ceremony will address violence against women as a violation of human rights and roses will be distributed to participants in honour of the patron saint of abused women.

The initiative will facilitate people coming together to acknowledge the “prevalence and impact” that domestic violence can have, says Margaret O’Riada of Galway Traveller Movement.

“People will light candles and leave flowers at St Rita’s statue. The blessing of the flowers is a tradition associated with her. Traditional flowers, made from crepe paper as was Traveller tradition will be used. Diverse voices will address the event calling for dignity for women in business, homemakers, lesbian women, black women and any minority women.

“We want society to stand up and say “no” to violence against women because it is a violation against human rights.”

She says participants will have an opportunity to identify the barriers to dealing with violence against women in society as well as exploring what can be done to change the current situation.

Ms O’Riada says to date both GTM and DVR have taken part in many initiatives to highlight the prevalence and effect of domestic violence on women and children.

Both organisers agree there is much to be done to tackle the scourge that is violence against women. A recent European survey pointed out that one in five women in Ireland will experience physical or sexual violence in their life time.

Galway Traveller Movement was established in 1994 and was initially called Galway Traveller Support Group. In the last 20 years it has advocated for improved conditions for Travellers in the areas of accommodation, health, education/training, enterprise/work, justice and rights with a focus on community work and human rights based approaches to achieving social change.

Domestic Violence Response is a rural-based, community-led project responding to domestic violence. Based in Oughterard the project was set up in 1998.

Its aims include identifying and responding to the needs of women and children in Co Galway who are subjected to violence and abuse in the home as well as developing long-term responses that work towards the elimination of domestic violence. For further information contact (091 ) 866740 from 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday.


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