Gender violence is a ‘class issue’ for local MU President

The President of Derry and Raphoe Mothers’ Union, Jacqui Armstrong, has urged first time voters at St Cecilia’s College in Londonderry to challenge local politicians who are seeking their support in the General Election about what they’re doing to get the Domestic Abuse Bill implemented in full in Northern Ireland.

Ms Armstrong was speaking to more than 100 Year 14 students at a special assembly in the school on Wednesday morning. In her 20-minute address, the MU President urged the young women in her audience never to accept domestic abuse or coercive control. “Don’t feel that you can’t make a difference,” she told the assembly, “because many drops of water make up a mighty ocean.”

Ms Armstrong also spoke to the pupils about the ‘Thursdays in Black’ campaign which highlights global issues of gender violence, including female genital mutilation and the use of rape as a weapon of war.

The Principal of St Cecilia’s College, Martine Mulhern, told the gathering that quite a few of them would have been impacted by domestic abuse and reminded them that there was a designated team in the college to advise and help them. Ms Mulhern also said she would be emailing students with Foyle Women’s Aid’s contact details.

After the assembly finished, Ms Mulhern and Ms Armstrong spoke to a number of students who expressed a wish to get involved in campaigning around the issues of gender violence and domestic abuse.

The St Cecilia’s visit was one of a number made by the Diocesan MU President to local schools this month. November is the highpoint of the MU’s campaign calendar when it places a particular focus on violence against women and girls. Ms Armstrong has already spoken to students in Royal and Prior Comprehensive (Raphoe), Thornhill College and Foyle College.