Women seeking help surges in wake of harrasment claims

SINCE the assault and harassment scandal that has engulfed Hollywood then Westminster began, a local rape crisis charity has seen a surge in calls from victims in Fermanagh. 
Cara Cash, chief executive of rape crisis charity Nexus, which has a branch in Enniskillen, said while the shocking stories coming out of Hollywood and Westminster “can seem a million miles away” from ordinary life in Fermanagh, the reality was harassment and sexual assault was happening here too, every day. 
“Nexus are seeing more referrals than ever before, in all of our offices, including Enniskillen,” said Ms Cash. “We see this as a positive thing as it means victims of any form of sexual violence are starting to feel that they can come forward and seek help. 
“Our mission is to break the silence on sexual violence and the fact that we are seeing more stories in the press is likely one factor in our increasing referrals.”
Ms Cash said Nexus was on hand to support any victims of sexual abuse, assault, and exploitation, stressing no matter where or when the incident happened, and no matter who perpetrated it, they were there to help victims. 
Praising the work of Nexus locally, Cllr Diana Armstrong welcomed the fact the scandals meant the issue was now being talked about openly. 
“This gives us the opportunity to educate our young women and girls to understand what behaviour is appropriate and what is not,” she said.
“In a rural community isolation and mental health issues may be the cause of inappropriate contact with women and men, so it is not confined to the corridors of powers, it happens every day in every circumstance. It is unfortunately a part of our society whether we like it or not.”
Cllr Mary Garrity said while she was grateful to have never experienced such behaviour, “unfortunately that’s not the story across the board.”
“If anyone was subjected to this sort of behaviour, male or female, report it and contact the right people. This is not acceptable.”
Cllr Bernice Swift said she to was thankful not to have experienced harassment, and added: “While recent allegations are wholly shocking it certainly evidences the widespread cover-up right across every aspect of industry none of which is acceptable.”

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