Northern Ireland news

Baroness Nuala O'Loan: I do not believe that there is a problem of 'men'

Former Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan. Picture by Declan Roughan
Marie Louise McConville

FORMER Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan has said conversations around violence against women should not demonise all men as "evildoers".

Writing in her column in The Irish Catholic newspaper, Baroness O'Loan, who is a crossbench member of the House of Lords, said "most men are good and kind, and do not lurk constantly waiting to attack a woman or girl".

Her comments follow protests across Britain and Ireland in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard.

The 33-year-old went missing while walking home in Clapham, south London, on March 3 and her death has sparked debate about levels of violence against women.

Ms O'Loan said there is "no justification whatsoever" to perceive all men as "potential attackers".

"This is nonsense," she said.

"What does this do to today’s little boys and girls as they grow up? Do little girls begin to think that all men are evil, as the dialogue suggests? Do little boys think that `men' attack women?"

She added: "I do not believe that there is a problem of 'men'.

"I know that there is a growing problem of violence in our society. That violence is perpetrated by both men and women. Anyone who attacks another person does wrong. Anyone who assaults another person commits a crime.

"I think we need to be very careful in our public discourse that we do not instil unwarranted fear in young people - fear of being attacked, and fear of being seen as an attacker."

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