Man exposing himself during online Ashling vigil sparks outrage
Irish women are outraged after an online Zoom vigil for murdered teacher Ashling Murphy was interrupted by a man exposing himself and masturbating.
Traveller activist, Rosemary Maughan, was speaking at the time of the shocking incident - which occurred yesterday evening (January 16) - and spoke of her disgust and anger on Twitter.
Ms Maughan said, "I have never been so disgusted, angry in all my life as woman. A man actually thought it was ok to masturbate while women united in grief, anger, love for a murdered woman during an online vigil. RIP. Men own your shit! This is not on us."
She went on to describe it as "the worst ever experience as a woman I had online".
Approximately eighty people virtually attended the vigil.
She said, "I am sick to my stomach, can't get the image out of my mind. He on the other hand is most likely laughing, feeling powerful. Well watch how powerful you are when held accountable for your vile actions. We can't even mourn the murder of one of us without be attacked."
The person responsible for the obscene imagery reportedly used the name of journalist Christine O'Mahony during the hijacking.
O'Mahony commented on social media and said, "We were holding an online vigil for Ashling and somebody decided to use my name hop on the zoom call and masturbate in front of us I am absolutely done, how could anyone be so disgusting!!!"
According to her, Gardai have been informed and the complaint has been passed onto the Divisional Protective Services Unit.
Incidents of 'zoombombing' - the act of interrupting online meetings and gatherings by internet trolls - have been well documented, with pornographic material often distributed to unwilling participants.
A debating final at University College Cork was zoombombed with pornography in October 2020, and young members of a Dublin GAA club were exposed to inappropriate content at an online coaching session in the same year.
Cyber-flashing is covered under section 45(1) of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017, and states: A person who exposes his or her genitals intending to cause fear, distress or alarm to another person is guilty of an offence.
Section 45(2) states a person is guilty of an offence when, in a public place, engages in sexual intercourse, an act of buggery, or an act of masturbation.
Senator Catherine Ardagh called the incident "serious depravity" and expressed hope the person responsible will be tracked down and prosecuted.
"That is one of the sickest things I have heard," she stated on Twitter.
Other senators also weighed in, including Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee and Senator Eugene Murphy.
The former stated, "This is why women feel so unsafe", while Senator Murphy called the incident "utterly disgusting".
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