A North Belfast woman who co-founded a survivors group after she was sexually abused as a child has organised a rally next week to raise awareness of abuse. Oldpark woman Julieanne Boyle was the first woman to come forward without anonymity in a sexual abuse case 17 years ago. After speaking out about her ordeal she founded the Survivors for Justice group with the aim of helping other people who have suffered abuse.
Along with Donaghadee woman Dorothea Brown, the two women have spent the last number of years campaigning for tougher sentencing and better awareness of sexual abuse and rape.
On Tuesday March 6 countries all over the world will hold their own demonstratoins against sexual abuse. Rallies are being held in 39 countries across the globe and the two women have organised Belfast’s rally to raise awareness of the issue.
Julieanne said sexual abuse continues to be a taboo subject with many people to afraid to speak out and see the abuser brought to justice.
“Abuse is not inevitable, it is preventable,” she said.
“As survivors of childhood sexual abuse and rape we aim to draw attention to the lack of funding regarding the monitoring of sex offenders.
“The courts are still letting victims down because of the leniency of the sentencing.”
She said she is hopeful local people will come along and show their support for victims and survivors of abuse.
“The protest aims to forge wider networks with other child abuse related charities throughout the UK and worldwide. “We aim to see a multi-agency, multi-charity approach to the issues of child abuse in order to tackle the issues in all their complexity. Our idea of this protest is to give children back their voice.”
The rally will be held at Belfast City Hall on Tuesday March 6 at 10am.