Trial by Facebook not the best solution

Deborah Coleman - Straight Talking

Published 14/07/2015 | 00:00

Emma Murphy in the video she posted online.
Emma Murphy in the video she posted online.
Deborah Coleman.

Domestic abuse victim Emma Murphy's decision to post her story on Facebook and to name and shame her former partner has caused much debate during the past week or so.

When her video went viral she was lauded for having the courage to share her experience and she explained that she felt compelled to do so in order to help other victims.

I can't say I'm comfortable with the idea of trial by Facebook and like many posts to social networking sites, once it is out there, there is no turning back.

Murphy's ex and the father of her two children has since come out and apologised for his actions but in the meantime, their entire personal lives have been splashed about the papers and the internet like an episode of Eastenders.

Without detracting from the fact that Murphy was indeed, a victim, and should not have had to endure such horrific treatment I don't believe that her actions were clearly thought out afterwards.

Posting it all onto Facebook made it into a soap opera and the entertainment value almost competed with the underlying seriousness.

The whole country has been filled in about their troubled relationship in a 'he said, she said' fashion and this can never be a good thing where children are concerned.

Awareness about domestic abuse is very important and every step towards breaking the stigma must be welcomed but while Murphy's intentions were to help others who found themselves in a similar situation, did she exercise the same judgment when she chose to name her former partner and indirectly identify their children.

The day will come when they will be old enough to access this information and all the coverage this time in their parents' lives garnered.

This is something that they should be shielded from and protected from as much as possible.

There is the additional element to the story that Murphy's actions have most likely jeopardised any future court proceedings she might wish to take.

Does she believe it is better for the public jury to adjudicate on her case rather than the courts?

The first thing her ex's defence would argue is that he was denied an opportunity to a fair trial - and who could say otherwise?

Wexford People

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