Savage That There’s No Funding for SAVI

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The Irish Government has said that there isn’t enough money in the coffers for a new SAVI report. The last one was produced in 2002.

A new SAVI Report is vital in order to get an idea of the current beliefs, attitudes, and – crucially – experiences of men and women in Ireland. Significantly for me, my eldest daughter was born in 2002, which means it’s very easy for me to remember that year. It’s not just nearly 16 years ago, it is a very real year for me. It means I can easily pinpoint 2002 in my memory, and compare and contrast now with then.

I am aware of how much technology has changed since then; how simultaneously enabling and disabling it is. I am aware of how much our attitudes towards sex and sexuality have changed since that year. I am aware that people are more aware, and more articulate around, sex, sexuality, and their sexual experiences now than they were then. I am aware that people who were young children in 2002 are now fully-grown adults. I am also aware that people who were young children in 2002, and who were being abused then, are now fully-grown adults who may, or may not, have ever had the opportunity to disclose and discuss their experiences. We need to capture this data.

We need to capture this data in order to inform policy, practice, and funding for people and services who care for those of us who are affected by sexual assault and abuse. We need to be visible and vocal about the fact that we are gathering this data so the people who are directly affected by it feel, and are, heard.

To commission a new SAVI Report would cost approximately €1m. The government has claimed they don’t have the budget. They do, however, have €64m for Irish Racing; they also have €16 for greyhound racing; they found an extra €500,000 for National Parks; and, of course, Leo the Liar easily found €5m for his own spin doctors

All of that tells us that sexually abused and assaulted children, women, and men in Ireland are worth less to this government than racing horses, bloodsports, trees, and Leo’s own personal public relations unit.  As if our self-esteem hadn’t taken enough of a battering already.

 

 

A Sorry State

Recently, Enda Kenny, the Irish Prime Minister apologised to women who had been incarcerated in Magdalene Laundries.  He had to apologise twice, because the first effort was so lukewarm, people registered their outrage and demanded better. The second effort, which you can read here was, to my ears, fulsome. He didn’t sound like he meant a word of it.

 

There is more about the Magdalenes and their cause for complaint here

 

 

By contrast, the Australian PM – Julia Gillard –  apologised for forced adoptions that took place in Australia as recently as the 1970s.  Enda could learn a few lessons in sincerity from Ms Gillard.

 

Sorry may be the hardest word to say, but I reckon it’s something future Irish Taoisigh will have to get used to uttering. They will have to apologise to:

 

1. People with mental health issues who have had medication/treatment (including ECT)  forcibly administered.

2. Women who were denied their human rights with regard to choice in childbirth.

3. Asylum seekers who have waited more than three years (and in some cases up to nine years) to have their cases heard.

4. Asylum seekers and refugees who were kept separated from their families as a result of Ireland’s laws.

5. Children with special needs who did not receive an adequate education (and I include highly gifted and talented children in that group).

6. The families of people who were left to die because our health service is terminally ill.

7. Children who should have been fostered, but were left in abusive homes because the State chose not to intervene.

8. Child offenders who were incarcerated in adult prisons.

9. Children with mental health difficulties who were kept in adult wards.

10. People who were left homeless after banks (of which they owned part) repossessed homes for which they lent too much money in the first place.

 

This list is incomplete. Please feel free to add to it.