The Loud Silence Behind Closed Doors

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The Loud Silence Behind Closed Doors

St Leo's College, Carlow

The Loud Silence Behind Closed Doors from St Leos College, Carlow

The Social Issue:

This YSI Team felt strongly that there were a lot of facts that were unknown about domestic violence in their community.  Aware that 1 in 4 women in Ireland experienced some form of violence by a partner, they learned that their local Carlow Women’s Aid, in close proximity to their school, supported 400 women in 2018 and that, in that same year, 10,782 women and 2,572 children received support in Ireland.   After undertaking research, the team felt that this issue was largely hidden and they wanted to educate themselves, their peers and their local community to ensure pepople knew where they can go for help.

The Idea:

The Loud Silence Behind Closed Doors team met with SafeIreland, an organisation dedicated to creating better services around this issue.  They attended a workshop led by the manager of Carlow’s Women’s Aid which was a hugely empowering experience for them as they developed their awareness campaign to teach both girls and boys what domestic violence is, what to look out for, what to do to if they were ever a victim.  An awareness event  in their school for 180 pupils proved very successful and efforts were made to run a similar workshop in other schools in the region. A social media campaign on Instagram and Twitter helped spread their message among peers. Speaking on local radio galvanised a wider audience too and the team also arranged group visits to the Carlow Women’s Aid centre, forging strong links and holding a number of partnered events. A 16-days-of-action campaign was rolled out across the school, led by a poster campaign and a short video. The team hoped that their campaign would help further UN Sustainable Development Goal 5: "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls".

By putting domestic violence out in the open, and in the media, we have put this issue at the forefront of people’s minds and are crushing stigma surrounding it.

The Loud Silence Behind Closed Doors Team Member

The Impact:

The team took their activism a step further and reached out to their local TD who has committed to establishing a Women’s Refuge for Carlow. Team members also wanted their voices heard and protested outside the Carlow Courthouse in a public show of support to stop Domestic Violence and support Women’s Aid services. Indeed when their local Women's Aid Centre came under threat, the team organised a petition in support of requesting more resources, staff and localisation of services.

The team believe that they have helped to bring domestic violence out into the open in their local area and dispel the stigma surrounding it. Their achievements were recognised at the Young Social Innovators Ireland Awards in October 2020 when they took home with the Bronze Award, having impressed the judging panel with their passion and commitment to helping women in Carlow.

The team with their Bronze Award, along with their Principal Niamh Broderick and YSI Guide Sheila Coady
The team with their Bronze Award, along with their Principal Niamh Broderick and YSI Guide Sheila Coady