Mayo Women’s Support Service (MWSS ) are currently taking part in a nationwide campaign which was initiated by SAFE Ireland and launched by Ryan Tubridy in November 2012. It is called Man Up and is an invitation to men and women to address, support and speak out on the issue of violence against women and children. MWSS intends to take the campaign to all parts of Mayo during 2013, starting in Castlebar in April.
Nearly 8,000 women and over 3,000 children, received support from domestic violence services nationwide in 2011 including MWSS. In 2011/2012 Mayo Women’s Support Service supported 556 families. Of these, 109 women and 252 children had to access refuge accommodation. The services have witnessed a year on year increase in demand for services since 1994.
Man Up is groundbreaking because it switches the focus, for the first time, from the needs and views of survivors—mostly women and children— to the actions and words of those who control and abuse - mostly men.
“We are dealing with a crime that is committed nearly every hour and certainly every day of the year,” said Josephine McGourty, manager of MWSS. Domestic abuse is heart breaking and it is definitely the most under-reported, largely undocumented and certainly unprosecuted crime across the country, including county Mayo.”
She added: “This campaign aims to reach women and men. We know that most men are appalled by violence. However, a small number of men do continue to abuse. We are asking everyone—men and women—to Man Up against home abuse so that we can make Mayo a safer place for women and children together.”
As part of raising awareness about the campaign MWSS will officially launch the event this month. Members will be distributing posters, leaflets, t-shirts, wristbands and are organising a number of events starting with Riot in the Wyatt, a music extravaganza, in the Wyatt Hotel, Westport on April 19. Youth and sports clubs will be engaged with and will be asked to support the campaign. Man Up videos will be shown in local cinemas and GMIT Castlebar is organising a pyjama day on April 17. There will also be a stand in AIB Castlebar with information about the service.
More about the campaign can be accessed on MWSS website and Facebook (www.mwss.ie ). In addition there are three web videos which you can view on SafeIreland.ie/manup