The murder of Ashling Murphy has heightened awareness of gender violence and potentially created the conditions for change

The political and social reaction to the 23-year-old’s murder could be a watershed moment for how women are treated in Irish society

Ashling Murphy’s hearse arrives at St Brigid's Church, Mountbolus, Co Offaly. Picture: Eamonn Farrell/

The two narratives diverged in a way that was difficult to ignore. First, a close friend of mine told me about how she had been struggling to find a gym she felt comfortable in, sampling memberships, but quickly moving on because of the atmosphere created by men.

In the most recent incident, she was using a pull-up machine and just as she was beginning to struggle with her last repetitions, she felt a stranger’s hands ...