Book Launch – “Without Fear”

Thursday, October 6th, 2005

On October 10th, 2005 former volunteers, board members, activists and academics will gather in the atrium at the National College of Ireland to celebrate the launch of Without Fear: 25 Years of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre by award winning journalist Susan McKay.

Speaking at the close of the centre’s one-day national conference, attended by An Tanaiste, Mary Harney who is launching SAVI Revisited a 3 year follow-up study to the original SAVI Report (Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland), Without Fear will be launched by Professor Ivana Bacik, and is published to mark the 25th anniversary of the center.

On an October evening in 1978, 5,000 Irish women marched through the centre of Dublin to protest about rape. Inspired by the ideals of the broader women’s movement, this landmark event led, in 1979, to the establishment of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. Fiercely opposed, it stood then as a lone beacon in an age when it seemed womanhood itself was on trial.

Without Fear is the first full account of the history of Dublin’s Rape Crisis Centre. At times horrific, it details the shameful scandals of key high-profile rape cases in the seventies, eighties and ninetes, offering definitive insights on the battle for better services, longer sentences and legal amendments. At times eye-opening and sadly amusing, we meet the Wicklow solicitor who had to gatecrash the confessional for a showdown with her local priest, the senator who was told by Charlie Haughey that her bill would be passed (but not before he managed to pull her bra-strap), and the landlord who refused the DRCC tenancy as he didn’t want his building ‘full of screaming women’.

Today, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre is a fully fledged service, taking over 10,000 counselling calls annually. Still standing firm against ancient and archaic attitudes to rape, each year it lifts the veil on a thousand silences, crying out against what often seems like our shocking tolerence of a brutal crime.

“This is a proud history and powerfully told by Susan McKay, a former volunteer of the DRCC, founder member of the Belfast Rape Crisis Centre and author of Sophia’s Story. I commend her for recording this story and warmly congratulate all associated with the first 25 years of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.” Mary Robinson.

Without Fear by Susan McKay, New Island, €15.99, launched next Monday October 10th at 5 pm by Professor Ivana Bacik, National College of Ireland, IFSC, Dublin 1

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