I’m writing this while genuinely sighing out loud because I hate that we are still discussing the subject matter in this day and age.
It’s 2021 (a better year than 2020 so far I’ll say that) but sometimes it feels like we are back in the 1950s.
I hate to be even putting his name on my website, but firstly, I need to discuss Eoghan Harris and the sickening, dangerous, fake account he used, and why it really was so dangerous.
It was first sent around WhatsApp groups, it was Tweeted about in a laughing manner, how gas it was for a second that a journalist felt the need to set up a fake Twitter account to push his own beliefs, and to promote, believe it or not…himself.
I’m pretty sure writing for a national newspaper is a promotion in itself, but anyway. We live in a world where the need for gross validation is only getting bigger and bigger.
It was all fun and games until once again a woman was at the centre of bad behaviour.
It turned my stomach when I saw the incredible Aoife Moore (the same journalist that broke Golf Gate), reveal that this “gas” “hilarious”, “embarrassing” account had actually harassed her and that she had received counselling since to deal with the trauma.
This account sent me sexualised messages about whether Mary Lou McDonald “turned me on”, the size of my arse and called me a terrorist from the month I started at the Examiner. Since then, I’ve had to go to counselling and the guards. https://t.co/aueLtHkg80
— aoife moore. (@aoifegracemoore) May 6, 2021
Not so funny anymore, is it?
Thankfully there have been consequences for his actions, he lost his job, and now he is facing two lawsuits, both for defamation, both from female journalists.
Trust me when I say this, these women have much better things to be doing with their time than putting a legal case together and reliving the horrible content they were forced to look at it, by an account that wasn’t even real, and (shock horror) was pretending to be a woman.
But it angered me, even more, to see The Irish Times published a letter by Eoghan, defending his actions, and seemingly having no remorse at all. And he actually attempted to explain how he was right to harass Aoife with the messages he sent.
He genuinely wrote the words: “I make no apology for my Twitter account.”
His apparent lack of empathy shows once again that people, men, in particular, do not understand how it feels to be dealt with this shit time and time again.
Women are left hurt, scared, angry, and stuck with this gut-wrenching feeling that I have right now…are things ever going to change?
On Tuesday morning I joined the Newstalk Breakfast show to discuss proposed new legislation for misogynistic behavior in the UK, including catcalling, shouting at women on the street etc.
The fact that this happens so often, and with no consequences right now, is so mind-boggling to me.
I have become a really big walker over the last 15 months, I walk at least once a day, and I did it in nice, tight gym gear.
This isn’t to show off my ass or turn on the lads (shock horror).
But I noticed at the beginning that no matter what time of day, or what gym gear I wore, I always got shouted at or beeped at by men.
I then got Alexa EarBuds which have a ‘noise reduction option so I turned that on so that I could literally drown out the noise…
After doing my Newstalk segment I turned it off again. And I honestly lost count of the catcalls, the shouting, the approaches by men I could hear in just one day.
It’s so unnerving to walk down a street at any time being a woman, but it’s even worse when you are literally being screamed at.
But for most women, this is just behaviour we have had to learn to live with, have been forced to accept. What are we going to do? Walk up to a group of men and shout right back?
As if I wasn’t already riled up enough this week, there was an incident on Friday.
I was driving into town at 8am for a morning walk and a coffee, and out of nowhere, a man flew out of a lane and nearly crashed right into me. No indicator, and at full speed.
I got such a fright, and as it happened I beeped my horn, a natural reaction, given that I didn’t want him to smash my car in.
Straight away he started shouting from the car, he looked back and saw me, and stuck up his middle finger.
Suddenly he took his seatbelt off and started opening his car door.
For a split second, I thought about just sitting there, letting him come over and standing my ground, screaming right back at him.
But I couldn’t, I shouldn’t, and I didn’t.
I drove out around him and sped off, checking my rearview mirror to make sure he couldn’t catch up with me.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it’s like living everyday life as a woman, compared to living everyday life as a man.
Ever since the murder of Sarah Everard in the UK in March, I’ve been having debates with men regarding how safe it feels to walk alone.
I’ve yet to meet one woman who has ever told me she feels completely safe to walk on her own in the evenings, let alone walking or running on her own during the day.
I’ve also yet to meet a woman who hasn’t been harassed on the street, grabbed in a club, given out to for not “smiling back”, for not acting the way that they “should” when they get male attention.
In the midst of that horrendous murder, this vile Twitter attack, and my own moments of harassment, I watched Promising Young Woman…and I think the movie will stay with me forever.
It’s a painful reminder that this is still very much a boy’s world that we live in. That women are still being judged on how they look, what they wear and how they act, pressures that men just don’t have to the same extent.
I say this as a confident, successful female entrepreneur, in a male-dominated industry. I still feel the inequality every day. In the deals we do, in the way, I’m spoken to, in the way I’m treated by other men in this industry.
I know a man in my position would have garnered magazine covers, dozens of newspaper articles bragging about their talents, TV show appearances just about the business. But I haven’t. And I truly hope that changes.
I want young girls and young boys to see more women in positions of strength, to see women written about for their achievements and their talents, not their clothes or their body.
The reason I came out about my revenge porn story, was to shine a light on the true misogyny that lives within both men and women that live in this country. But the sad truth is we are only at the beginning of this journey to stamp it out.
I just wish this week, when that man went to get out of his car, I had a golf club in the back of mine, just like that scene in Promising Young Woman.
If you haven’t seen it, you could learn a thing or two…