I must have struck an odd figure, a flat-bellied, white girl sitting alone amongst the pregnant Indian ladies and their husbands. Their bellies came in all shapes and sizes, some modest bumps, others round like melons. The woman sitting to my left had a belly swollen to the size of a beach ball. I thought about the little human she had growing inside of her, extending itself, taking up space in this world but insulated from the worst of its suffering.
Last week’s series of ‘Failure to Launch’ showcased Karen and her mother Geraldine, who shared their experiences living together in South Dublin while Karen worked in a law firm. Since then Karen has been living in India for a year and a half, completing a fellowship at Ashoka University and training as a meditation coach while living in an Ashram. With the passing of distance and time, this week’s follow-up interview is one of reflection and recognition between mother and daughter, and a rumination of the quality of life for younger generations in Ireland.
The Irish referendum to repeal the 8th amendment and remove the legal barrier against abortion takes an issue of immense complexity and reduces it to a yes or no answer. It has taken place within the public forum, pitting one grass-roots movement against the other. Battle lines were drawn. Adversaries were marked.
The voting decisions of the Irish public were the spoils of war. Persuading others to also pick your side is a always a tricky business, one that requires certainty and conviction to keep the facts afloat. But matters of public morality elicit the resolute stubbornness of a crusade, a vertiginous unassailability that elevates its ideological underpinnings to biblical heights.
An object cannot feel pleasure, an object cannot give consent. In the aftermath the Belfast rape trial, where do we go from here?
If women are to be protected it is obligatory that there be established a whole new body to handle reports of sexual abuse when the available evidence is unlikely to meet the burden of proof in a criminal case. A civil suit is always an option but this is costly, placing a huge financial burden on the victim, which could be devastating if she loses. Furthermore, on a whole current procedures are still vastly ill-suited to the everyday occurrence of sexual misconduct in its many forms and contexts. It is likely in such a system that the punishment would no longer fit the crime but for most women the end goal of reporting sexual violence is to ensure it doesn’t happen again, to themselves or other women.
Like millions of women around the world, it is impossible for me to follow the story of Harvey’s Weinstein with the same distance that is afforded to most -but not all-men. It brings up memories of sexual violence and sexual misconduct in the real world and the workplace that is all too commonplace for women. As a young girl growing up the burden of femininity is slowly impressed upon you. It begins with restrictions being placed upon your freedom and stories told by way of caution. Movies, books and newspapers lay bare the oppression and subjugation committed against women, but…
With New Years having just passed under our nose, it is once again that time of year where we place ourselves under the microscope for a rigorous self-inspection. With a season of gluttonous self-indulgence brought to a close, the sequential leap from depravity to punishment fits in nicely with the spirit of the religious festivities. For every drink or pie too many there is a sin to atone for, and the tallying up of our annually- accumulated vices sweeps us into the new year on a fresh wave of disgust and loathing. This year however I found the idea of waiting till New Years to change my life positively comical. With self-improvement and wellness very much in vogue, tearing yourself to shreds only to build yourself back up again is an year round, if not daily, activity.
Campaigners gathered today outside the Dáil in efforts to suede the government to approve cystic fibrosis treating drug ‘Orkambi’. The NCPE (National Centre for Pharmeconomics) has recommended the government not to approve the drug as it does not represent value for money. Vertex, the pharmaceuticals company manufacturing the drug are currently charging €160,000 per patient annually, while the National Pharmaceutical Agency has valued the drug at €30,000 per annum. The final decision rests with Minister for Health Simon Harris who will receive a recommendation from the HSE, but a report in the Sunday Business Post indicated that the HSE would…