An Un-Opened letter to the women of Ireland,
I am sorry. I am sorry on behalf of our government for refusing to change. I am sorry on behalf of the people fighting against you. I am sorry on behalf of those who fight alongside you, knowing already that the battle has been lost. With the violent distraction of the beautiful and moving 'Repeal' art work in Temple Bar and in more recent times the Strike For Repeal march on International Woman's Day - a lot of stories have recently started to surface and more women are opening up in the hopes that their honesty might bring vile protestors to their senses. I read an article in the Irish Examiner by one of the strongest voices in Ireland and a true hope for our future Louise O'Neill - where she simply stated something along the lines of power phrased 'Irish Women have abortions. They always have had abortions and they always will have abortions' and it was something that really struck a cord with me.
Sometimes I think as a nation we forget to think about the stories that women are too scared to share. We forget about the countless tears women have and will still cry because they worry people will judge them for their decisions. We let the mental and physical scars they show us every day, even faded; still glistening under the ever over cast Irish Weather - to continue fading without mentioning them because it's easier than actually having to sit down and understand the weight they carry- because the reality is, when we look at what they have had to go through and what any of us could have to go through we are ashamed and we are scared and we are above all else ALONE at the time when we most need help, advice and support.
It doesn't matter what the catalyst of these stories are, it doesn't matter when why or to whom they are being told - the reality of it is that these women are our sisters, our aunts, our best friends, our next door neighbours. This isn't a discussion about something that 'might one day' effect us. It is constantly effecting us, it is effecting them, it could effect you. And when is the time to confront this reality? When do we start asking the hard questions, when do we start speaking louder when discussing the issue. When and where can we safely raise our voices above a whisper on this issue? When do we start saying 'no' and not accepting the fact that not only is it illegal for us as women to make a decision about our own bodies - but when can we start fighting for more than just the decision to have a child? When we can start fighting for the right to have our own lives saved first? When can we start fighting for the right to have our own voice and speak loudly about our life choices and what has shaped us into the strong women we are today.
We should not have to be scared now. We should not have had to have been scared. . We should not have to worry about our daughters being scared. We should have the choice. When ever I travel or meet new people and I tell them I'm from Ireland, I constantly hear congratulatory conversations regarding how lucky I am to have lived through the 'Yes To Eqaulity' victory and, yes I am. I am so lucky that I got to see our country fight for men, women and people all over the country to get to marry the person they love - but can we not see the irony in it all? Our voices were loud enough to be heard in regards to a law about GETTING MARRIED, when we are being ignored over a law that literally is killing us? I'm not trying to down play the torture of discrimination and the personal, psychological and social explosions that the same sex marriage law had and now has on our country but what about the women? Why aren't we enough? Why is it that we can have colourful flags hanging from our windows in celebration - but when we wear jumpers with a single word or paint walls with the same word on it, we get photo-shopped, painted over and publicly flayed online as it if wasn't enough or wasn't worth hearing.
I'm getting off point here and that's the issue - we could talk about this for our whole lives and we should be shouting loudly about it every single day. What we need to really get down to is this;
I am sorry that you had to go through this. I am sorry that you were frightened and alone. I am sorry that you had to feel shame and fear in a situation that is mentally and physically taxing enough for any woman. I am sorry that you were not supported. I am sorry that you had to go through this away in a strange and far away, unfamiliar place when you should of been able to do it at home with some sense of normalcy to make it even maybe just a little bit easier to bear. I'm sorry that you had to recover in hotel beds when you should have been in your own. I'm sorry that you had to bleed in airport bathrooms and in air plane seats when you should have been wrapped up in the love and support of your family. I'm sorry that you sat at home scared and sick instead of going to doctor when the blood didn't stop - because you were scared that you would be judged. I'm sorry that we were not there for you I’m sorry that we – we as a nation – have failed you so much and so cruelly.
For any of you who have gone through this, for any of you who will have to go through this - I am sorry. It is not enough, it never will be enough -