Belfast Telegraph

Ireland's shameful treatment of rape victim is a stain upon us all

By Nuala McKeever

What happens in Edinburgh, stays in Edinburgh, alright? On the other hand, they say confession is good for the soul, so maybe a little 'fessing up might not go amiss here.

So, how did all the great plans for a fantastic Fringe work out? I wanted to do a great show – check. Get great reviews for my play – check. Be invited to take it abroad – check.

So far, so impressive.

On a more personal note, I booked myself into 10 yoga classes to be taken over three weeks – eh, not quite check. Missed one, did one, wrecked my sore foot, took agin the instructor from her first non-smiling greeting, and never went back.

Planned to carry on eating my normal regime of fruit and veg and little carbs. Eh, even less check than the yoga. Have eaten more bread in the last three weeks than in the whole of the last year.

But at least my principles are still intact, yes? Eh, no.

Trudging home in the rain. Past the wholefood co-op shop. Get to corner, remember need washing powder. Will I retrace my soggy tired steps and purchase an ethical brand or take the easier option and go into large chain supermarket on corner and buy biological, mass-produced, screw-the-environment powder made by a household name? It's very wet out here. I'm very tired. I've had a long day.

I go into the supermarket and pay for clean clothes with my principles.

But you understand, don't you? Sometimes we're not perfect. Sometimes a double standard creeps in. I can hear you now telling me not to be so hard on myself. Everyone compromises sometimes.

You understand because you're probably a little bit like me. Great intentions that don't always follow through. Hey, we're human. Welcome to the club!

We always seem to have enough compassion for those who are just like us. A young, roughly spoken, un-educated man in a hoodie steals a car? Lock him up!

A middle-aged, well-spoken, well-educated man in a suit steals stationery and pens and personal phone call time from his large employer? Ah sure, who hasn't? Sure it's off a broad back. Sure everyone does it. Sure we're only human.

My good intentions floundered on the ice rink of tiredness. I couldn't face making the effort.

In contrast, the young woman in the south of Ireland who came to this island, pregnant through rape, found out she was and asked for help, repeatedly – she made a huge effort. She was put through the mill of tests and checks. Told she could have an abortion in principle but then lack of money and papers meant she couldn't travel to England. She made more effort. She stopped eating. They took her to court and got permission to force feed her. They made big efforts too.

She told them she wanted to die. Being raped was bad enough, but she was also suffering from the shame of it. She was raped and yet she was the one feeling shame. Punishment heaped upon punishment. And she asked for help, for understanding, for some empathy and she was told that the powers that be in this island couldn't find it in themselves to see themselves in her. She was raped, shamed and now driven at a brick wall.

When will we stop punishing women for the crimes committed against them? When will we stop spouting pious crap about saving lives while not caring a damn about lives? The whole thing stinks. And there's not enough detergent in all the corner shops in the world to take away this shameful bloody stain.

Gerry was on my wavelength

Hard to believe there’ll be no more programmes with Gerry Anderson. I was a researcher on his TV chat show, Anderson On the Box, for two years.

What he lacked in dedication to reading the notes we typed up for him about the guests, he more than made up for in charm, friendliness, encouragement and just the right mix of self-confidence and shyness.

Personally, he was a great supporter to me. He was a rare thing — a person in the public eye without any side to him. Bluff but no b*******.

Hope he’s having fun with Flann O’Brien now ...

Ice bucket craze leaves me cold

Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t like this ‘ice bucket’ craze that’s doing the rounds now. People nominating other people — such as This Morning host Ruth Langsford — to pour freezing cold water over their own heads or else donate money to a Motor Neurone Disease charity.

I don’t know who started it or if a particular charity endorses it, because I can’t bring myself to read anything more about it.

I just dislike intensely anything that smacks of the old chain-letter mentality — do this or else! And it’s almost always something pointless.

Kinda sums up our age — social media moronity. Brrrr ... humbug!

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph