Fines should be introduced for “catcalling and unsolicited comments” on the street, according to Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson for children.
Senator Erin McGreehan is backing calls from transition students at Maryfield College in Drumcondra, who found that as many as six-in-ten women under 20 regularly experience catcalling.
Research commissioned by the students found that around half of the women who had experienced it in the past week, said it happened on multiple occasions.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Senator McGreehan said the problem should be addressed through, “awareness, education and legislation.”
“I am proposing that we look into the possibility of legislation for catcalling and unsolicited comments,” she said.
“France and Belgium have done this before and I think we have a big problem here in Ireland.
“The Amárach research with Maryfield College in Drumcondra really highlighted that our young girls, our teenagers, our children are being catcalled with sexually explicit comments and I really do think we need to be able to protect that and make sure that young girls and women feel safe on our streets.”
The student’s research found that around half of the people making the comments were teenagers or in their early 20s; however, a third were believed to be older.
Senator McGreehan said the legislation, “won’t be everything” but could change the way people think about lewd comments.
“People might start realising that it is not an innocent comment,” she said. “that it’s not a joke.
“That the consequences of having that innocent or so-called innocent comment – the unsolicited sexual innuendo – doesn’t make a girl feel good, doesn’t make a girl go home and think, yeah I am great today,” she said.
“It makes one feel unsafe and conscious of themselves; there is a fear of getting physically assaults and we have seen the talk recently about how unsafe we feel as women on our streets.”
She suggested that failing to prevent people making lewd comments could create a “domino effect,” leading to an increase in sexual assault and rape.
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