8th Amendment of the Constitution

Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI), responding to the government’s announcement of a referendum to be held on the 8th Amendment of the Constitution, call on the public debate to be respectful and informed by the best available facts and compassionate understanding when discussing the realities facing girls and women in Ireland pregnant following rape.

Rape survivors have always featured disproportionately in the public debates on abortion access in Ireland but we have limited facts about the approximately 5% of all female rape victims who become pregnant.

For some years RCNI have released data on the pregnancy outcomes for rape survivors attending rape crisis centres. It is critical to always note that these facts do not tell us about the options, intentions, choices and the feelings of rape survivors.

We know survivors’ experiences are highly diverse. Each survivor faces a unique set of circumstances that they are best placed to make decisions about. In rape crisis we seek to support and empower each survivor as the experts in their own lives and process of recovery. We cannot and do not direct, force or judge.

We urge anyone interested in representing survivors’ interests in this debate to read the RCNI submission to the Citizen’s Assembly before making any assumptions http://www.rcni.ie/wp-content/uploads/RCNI-Citizens-Assembly-submission-FINAL.pdf .

Given the sensitivity and the potential pain this topic causes it is critical that survivors of rape are respectfully and factually represented, without judgement, and in their diversity.