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Dublin government minister Josepha Madigan says she is a victim of sexual assault

Josepha Madigan said sexual assault "was and is a lot more common than many believe”. Picture by Fine Gael /PA
John Besley, PA

A Dublin government minister has told the country’s parliament she is a victim of sexual assault.

Josepha Madigan, Minister for Special Education and Inclusion, said in a speech yesterday that violence against women is a “corrosive blight on female safety and morale”, adding it is more common than people think.

She said: “There are very few women my age that have not been subjected to some form of sexual assault in their respective lifetimes and I know this because I am one of them.

“It won’t come as a surprise to those of us of a similar age who have suffered this trauma.

“Sometimes we have suffered it more than once – it was and is a lot more common than many believe.”

Ms Madigan pointed to recent events such as the killing of Sarah Everard in March to highlight the dangers women face.

She said: “The Me Too movement, the Reclaim the Night movement … and the social media support for Sarah Grace after the brutal, savage attack she suffered in Dublin, have highlighted even more so how vulnerable we can be as women.

“No doubt there is someone watching this speech live or reading it later, somewhere near to you at this very moment in time … where some form of sexual violation is taking place.

“The scary part about sexual assault in particular is that it is not always the random monster in the middle of the night, but often a friend or a spouse or an acquaintance. It is a corrosive blight on female safety and morale.”

Following the speech, Ms Madigan received a host of support from her colleagues on social media.

Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton commended Ms Madigan’s courage, writing on Twitter: “It takes courage for victims to speak about their experiences, well done @josephamadigan for such a brave speech.”

Fine Gael MEP Frances Fitzgerald also thanked Ms Madigan for speaking out, tweeting: “Josepha, well spoken. It takes great courage to share such a personal story.”

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