Trigger warning: This post contains themes of domestic violence some readers may find triggering.
Last August, Ireland was rocked by the shocking deaths of a family of five.
The bodies of Alan Hawe, his wife Clodagh, and their three sons Liam, Niall and Ryan were found inside their house in County Cavan. Hawe was the deputy principal of the local primary school, where Niall and Ryan were students. Clodagh was a teacher at another school.
Watch: Rosie Batty speaks about the importance of domestic violence awareness (post continues after video…)
Hawe had murdered his family, using weapons he had stockpiled, then killed himself. He attacked Clodagh first, as she was planning a family holiday on the computer, and then moved onto his three sons in their bedrooms. The youngest, Ryan, was just six years old.
The local community was stunned, as Hawe had no history of mental health problems. The principal of Hawe’s school described the murder-suicide as a “terrible tragedy”, and said Hawe was a “valued member” of the school staff and community.
A joint funeral was held for the family of five. Mourners were asked to make donations to a suicide charity.
“It is not for us to seek answers or to surmise about behaviour,” the priest, Father Felim Kelly, said. “We are all trying to cope with a tragedy beyond our understanding.”
The five family members were laid to rest in the one burial plot.
It wasn’t long before women’s organisations in Ireland began protesting about the coverage of the deaths. The National Women’s Council of Ireland and Women’s Aid said the incident should be described as “murder” and “the most extreme form of domestic violence”.