When Television can Enable the Silence Surrounding Rape to be Broken

26 June 2007


On Sunday night after the Drama Damage was screened, the Rape Crisis Centre’s (RCC’s) National Freephone Helpline 1 800 77 88 88 received over 42 genuine counselling calls relating to the programme and a further 32 calls, most of which were hang ups, which happens when people find they cannot speak. On Monday there was a steady flow of calls also relating to the programme. The people who called the Helpline, were all very upset, but found themselves because of the programme, and many for the first time, able to break the silence which some had kept for over 10 years.

Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, Chief Executive, DRCC said “Television is indeed a very powerful medium. Rape and sexual assault are the most under reported crimes in our country. We saw in the Drama Damage, which was screened by RTE on Sunday night, the complexities surrounding this heinous crime, dealt with in a sensitive realistic and responsible way. As a result of previous consultation with RTE and Subotica the production company who made Damage, the RCC’s National Freephone Helpline Number was screened immediately after the programme. This resulted in a huge increase in the volume of calls to the Helpline. Extra counsellors were made available and in the hour and a half after the programme over 42 genuine counselling calls were received. Over 80% were first time callers to the Helpline. Without exception, these callers were enabled to come forward and speak about their traumatic experiences and will hopefully have begun their road to recovery.

We still have a long way to go before we have any true picture of the extent of these crimes but it is so much better that people come forward and that they know help is available.”

For further information please contact:
Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, CEO – 01 661 4911 / 086 809 9618