Irish women have reported rapes on average every 48 hours while on foreign holidays, it has been revealed.
The revelation came as one Irish sexual violence centre urged young Irish women heading to sunspots and so-called party destinations to exercise maximum caution and not to be too trusting of people just because they come from the same background and speak the same language.
All the reported sexual assaults occurred at overseas holiday destinations – and all involved women aged in their teens and early 20s.
A spokesperson for a sexual violence centre said it was very worrying to see such a concentration of reported rapes involving foreign holidays in such a short space of time.
“These girls are very young, it might be their first holiday without their parents,” she said.
“They are meeting groups of Irish or English lads out in nightclubs in Spain, Portugal, Italy or wherever, and they are going back to parties with them.
“They would never go off with local guys on holidays but they think they are safe because they are from the same place or a similar culture.
“They blame themselves – maybe because they were drinking or they think they shouldn’t have gone home with someone.
“Some of them say they’ve saved for a year for the holiday or their parents paid for it and they feel like they’ve let them down.
“They are just so riddled with guilt and it’s painful for me to hear about it because it’s not their fault in any way.”
The news also comes as it emerged Spanish police were also investigating the alleged rape last month of a young Irish man in a beach resort.
They added: “Too much is being tolerated in society – whether it’s men calling women sluts and whores or groping women on a night out.
“It starts with that and progresses to sexual violence.
“We tell women to be careful but we don’t tell the boys not to rape. People think ‘My son would never do that.’
“Well, somebody’s son is doing it. We’re kidding ourselves if we think no Irish boys are capable of rape.
“Right now there are no consequences for men’s actions – even verbally from their peers.”
The spokesperson encouraged women to look out for their friends if going on a group holiday.
“If you are staying on at a party or going to have consensual sex with someone, make sure your friend is OK, that she gets home safe.”
Concluding, they said: “If you have been the victim of a sexual assault, the first thing you need to do is get medical attention. There are six sexual assault treatment units around the country.
“Then if you do want to report it go to your local Rape Crisis Centre or a counsellor and above all, remember it’s not your fault.”
If you have been affected by any of these issues, contact the Donegal Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre on 1800 44 88 44 or the Rape Crisis Centre on 1800 778 888.