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The men who abuse doitbecause they can expert

Monday, 11th February, 2013 3:15pm
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The men who abuse doitbecause they can expert

By Jackie Keogh

THE number of calls being made to a West Cork domestic violence service has risen steadily in recent years.

The outgoing secretary of the West Cork Women Against Violence’s voluntary board, Kathryn Kingston, revealed at their AGM, which was held in the West Cork Hotel last Thursday night, that the calls have increased from 761 in 2010, to 889 in 2011, and 1,105 last year.

Both she and the co-ordinator of the service, Marie Mulholland, said: ‘The continued rise in incidents of domestic abuse is of great concern’ and demonstrated how the service has become ‘increasingly important as a lifeline to women living with violence.’

The outgoing chairperson of the voluntary board of management, Ann Sullivan, also spoke at the well-attended AGM about the work done by the voluntary board of management.

She said: ‘It often takes place in the evenings after a full day’s work and other commitments; it involves reading a lot of documents, totting up columns of figures and trying, not only to predict but also to prepare, for what might be coming down the line politically and financially.

‘It involves grappling with employee relations, legal contracts, government policy, financial administration, public relations and 101 obstacles and difficulties that you would rather did not exist.’

But despite all the demands on people’s time and resources, she said: ‘It is worthwhile because it is all an integral part of providing a service that is essential to women’s survival. It’s also a vital agent in promoting and safeguarding their human rights and that is the privilege we all get to share.’

Four new members, who were elected to the board, will bring a new range of important skills and insights to the service. They are: Janice Hurley, a businesswoman from Bandon; Cliodhna Murphy, a solicitor from Skibbereen; Christine Gaffney, a postgraduate in social science from Tragumna; and Kathleen O’Mahony, principal social worker in mental health services from Dunmanway.

Those re-elected to the board include Anne O’Donovan, Kathryn Kingston, Ann Sullivan, Sheila Anne O’Leary and Allison Aldred.

The guest speaker at the AGM was Don Hennessy, who, in addition to being an author and a therapist, is one of the leading voices in exposing the extent of intimate partner abuse.

Don Hennessy spoke about his work with male perpetrators of domestic violence. He revealed that men who abuse choose the type of woman they can control. He said they look for a kind woman – a type who never puts her own needs before that of her partner.

In answer to one of many questions from intrigued members of his audience, Don Hennessy refuted that alcohol, unemployment or poverty are factors in why men abuse.

He said most men do not respond to such external factors by showing violence to the women in their lives: the men who abuse do it because they can.

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