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Woman speaks out against sexual harassment on Ireland's streets after incident

NewsBy Shuki Byrne
The incident occurred on Washington Street in Cork
The incident occurred on Washington Street in Cork

An intrepid young woman is speaking out against sexual harassment on Ireland's streets after a harrowing ordeal which left her mortified and shocked.

Laura Duncliffe (20) was walking along a Cork city street with friends when they were approached and jeered at by a group of men. 

The group, full of men aged in their 30s, were standing outside a pizza restaurant when they began verbally abusing the 20-year-old and her friends. 

Duncliffe says she was shocked and 'mortified' when a member of the gang ran up to her and hoisted her skirt up above her waist. He ran back to his friends where he was cheered and praised by the group.

Ms Duncliffe took to social media to describe the ordeal, and to speak out against a prevailing culture in which these incidents are not uncommon. 

“I stood there in genuine shock and disbelief that a man in his thirties would actually do this to a 20-year-old woman who, to be fair, actually looks one or two years younger,” she said.

“Luckily, one of my girlfriends stepped in and gave him a well deserved slap across the face. The appalling fact is I’m sure that a lot of other girls experience the same thing on nights out; whether it be men thinking they have the right to pass little sexual remarks, or they have a right to put a hand on you.

“The fact that these little creepy perverts number one think this behaviour is okay, and secondly get away with it, is an absolute disgrace.
 
“If you have the mentality that a woman is ‘asking for it’ because of the item of clothing she is wearing, you really really need to reevaluate your thinking.
 
“If you happen to experience any of this disgusting behaviour in the future off little creeps, please don’t just walk away and let him get away with it, please do something about it.”
 
Speaking to Today FM, she said couldn't sleep following the disturbing incident. 
 
“I was mortified. I came home that night and I couldn’t go to sleep. I was just sitting up and thinking about it. I was mortified.
 
“The personal embarrassment of it was one thing but then when the fright and shock leaves your system and the more angry and annoyed you get that someone could potentially get away with that,” she said.
 
Laura revealed she has been overwhelmed by the response of the Facebook status which has been shared throughout social media.
 
“The overwhelming support has been unbelievable. It's the last thing I expected. I'm after getting so many messages from both men and women.
 
“I’m not doing it for me by any means. I’m doing it for people who have experienced similar and who have left comments and sent messages,” she said.
 
The 20-year-old revealed that she has been encouraged to report the incident to the Gardai who are now investigating.
 
“I went to the guards and I did report it. They were fantastic,” said Laura.
 
“You go through these stages of thinking ‘Am I being overdramatic’, ‘Am I being a drama-queen’
 
“But it’s not alright to brush something like that under the carpet.”