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Naaisha Haneef – The Fierce Yogi and Creative Surfer

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Now, that would just be my opinion. A lot of people would say the playwright has nothing to do with it because it's on stage at this point, so it should be regardless whether the playwright's name is mentioned. But I would just argue back for the playwrights it's important to have the acknowledgement of the name on the poster. Yeah, and I can absolutely see, of course you put all that work in, and it also has implications for future work for you as well obviously if you're names on a poster or whether it's not.

It's a very complicated issue. How do you get to the root of that problem and that bias that's still in there? I'm intrigued by the fact it's so complicated.

I'm like, well, let's keep talking about it, 'cause anything worth doing never had an easy answer, and if it has an easy answer I think it would've been done years ago. But I think it's so important this dialogue is opened and it's talked about with people within the industry, people outside the industry, how do they perceive it? Male, female, transgender, everyone needs to be involved in this conversation until we find a solution for it.

Because we can't bury our heads in the sand and say, "Oh, that's too difficult. Just because we're not oppressed anymore, just because we're fighting and we've risen doesn't mean that we're not still holding onto old habits that need to be erased from the way we speak about women, the way that we address and acknowledge women, and it's just keep conversation open. Obviously this is a huge Do you have any thoughts and opinions about that campaign or things pertaining to it?

Yes, absolutely. I suppose I might get in trouble for saying this. I'm a bit controversial on the MeToo campaign to be brutally honest. My problem with the MeToo campaign is this is brilliant, we're finally breaking silence. I can't imagine the pain of women who have suffered this. But my problem with it is it's blown up, it's everywhere, it's on Twitter, you can't escape it even if you want to, and I'd be very concerned the counselling services been put in place for women who have suffered this abuse.

In Ireland, counselling for survivors of sexual abuse is very limited, and recently the MeToo campaign broke in Ireland. I'd be very concerned about women who are very distraught, very upset, open wounds have happened, and they're on Twitter asking for someone to help them. So that's one of my concerns with the MeToo campaign. My other concern with the MeToo campaign, we have a court of law.

Whether we like it or not, that's our court of law and we have to abide by it, because if we start taking the law into our own hands we're going to end up destroying each other. Literally destroying each other. In Ireland, there's one per cent, one per cent of conviction of rape cases, and the way a woman is treated in rape or sexual assaults in Ireland is disgusting. It's the only crime, it is the only crime where the victim is a liar until proven innocent and you're underwear is shown to you in court and you go through eight days of cross-examination, and if you had any alcohol in you you're just not believed.

So I would like to see this campaign move forward fighting for counselling and also fighting for conviction of rapists. I heard a brilliant quote. Someone said, "My experiences deserve more than a MeToo hashtag on Twitter. How can you put what happened to you into characters? I think it's brilliant that we're vocalising it, but I think we need to follow up the vocalisation with action, and I think the law needs to stand up and admit that they've been treating women horrifically and they need to change the law.

Because, at the minute, I can't actually imagine why anyone would go to the police if they'd been raped because you're treated horribly. You're treated like you're the one who committed the crime. In Ireland, for example, if you go to a sexual assault and rape clinic, you're asked is there mental illness or alcoholism in your family? If you're stabbed you're not asked that.

What does that have to do with the fact that you've just been raped? I'm delighted, I'm really, perversely I'm using the word delighted, that it's been acknowledged, because for years women, and men who've been raped as well, have just had to get over it themselves and know there is no justice for it and that's it. And particularly with Facebook and camera phones now, that's an issue that needs to be addressed.

People are having pictures taken of them and put up without their consent. So it's great, but I'd like to see us moving forward with it and putting in practical solutions and help for women that just has not been there. You have articulated your thoughts on that absolutely beautifully, and I must say that I mirror a lot of those sentiments. I find it very concerning the idea of a trial by social media, and I also feel that in today's day and age it's very easy to become complacent, that we feel that if we comment online and don't actually do any action in the real world that that is participating and actually helping to change things, and I think that's only very true on a very limited scale.

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It's very good, as you said, to talk about things and get the knowledge out there, but at the end of the day action is what is going to change things, and I think that's a beautiful perspective. Thank you so much for sharing that. Thank you very much. Thanks a million. Moving on, I think it's a really good time actually to introduce talking about the Repeal the 8th campaign that you have been a fierce campaigner for yourself. You obviously have very strong opinions and are very passionate about topics pertaining to women and women's rights.

For those overseas who aren't aware of the Repeal the 8th campaign, are you able to tell us what the campaign is about and why you support it so strongly? I've spoken to a lot of my friends who are overseas, and they found it incredibly shocking when I told them what Repeal the 8th is. So, the 8th Amendment, basically if you're pregnant in Ireland, under no circumstances can you have access to an abortion. That includes rape, that includes if your life is in danger, that includes if you're told your child won't live, you still have to carry that child.

That includes if you have had an accident and you're on life support. If the foetus has a beating heart, you will be kept on life support. It's very, very, very restrictive. Under no circumstances, under no circumstances are you able to access an abortion in Ireland. Abortion pills are illegal. If you're caught taking an abortion pill you can face up to seven years in prison, I think. So our option at the minute for thousands of Irish women is to travel to England for an abortion, and that costs a lot of money.

It's averaging a thousand Euro to get over there, including flights and including the money for the procedure once you get over there. We have heard horrific cases, we have heard horrendous cases. She was a year-old girl who was raped by a man known to the family, and became pregnant. She decided she wanted to have an abortion and her mother was going to go with her, and the family told the Guards that they were going over there because they just wanted them to know, and they also were hoping would there be any evidence that they could get to try and identify the man and get him convicted.

They were stopped from going and that girl was forced to remain pregnant. At 14, raped, she was forced to remain pregnant. They eventually went to court, and she eventually ended up having a miscarriage. But if she hadn't miscarried, that year-old child would've been forced to remain pregnant.

Most recently, last year, a teenager requested an abortion, and she was put into a psychiatric ward and was forced to remain pregnant. Now, they're the extreme cases on the most basic level. No woman in Ireland has the rights to her own body. No woman. We have to be forced to remain pregnant against our will, so if we're suffering mental illness, if we just don't want to have that pregnancy for whatever reason, whether it be cases of rape, whether it be an abusive situation, whether it be financial strain, whether it be that they're in college and they want to live their own life, whether they feel they have three children and they can't afford to feed them, whether it be their last child was a stillborn and they can't go through with another pregnancy, it doesn't matter.

Predictable but future unclear

You have to leave your own country to access basic healthcare. Look, I must say it blows my mind, and I am actually at a loss for words. I mean, this is , and I firmly believe that my body is my body and what I do with it is my right, and so I would love to believe that there's enough support in the community to repeal the 8th.

But the fact that it's still there is concerning, from what you've said. So what is the feeling like in your community at the moment? Are you confident that the 8th will be repealed, or is there still strong resistance to keeping it there? I'm terrified. We're going to have a vote in May and we're campaigning, we're canvassing, we're going door to door, we're doing stalls, but I'm genuinely worried.