Gript can reveal that Linda Hayden, founder of the Victim’s Alliance and candidate for the Social Democrats in the 2020 General Election, sent unsolicited images of a sexual nature to a sexual abuse victim. The images, sent in late 2019, show a man in various states of undress, including having his penis fully exposed and erect. It is unknown if the man pictured consented to having his intimate images shared in this manner.
Hayden sent the message with the comment “happy dick Christmas”. When the recipient indicated her displeasure, telling Hayden that she could “keep it”, Hayden responded, saying “really? That’s my kinda chubb”.
The recipient of the images told Gript that Hayden was well aware of her history of sexual abuse, and aware too that the material would not be something she felt comfortable receiving. The recipient said she felt Hayden had sent over the material “to test my boundaries, to see what she could get away with.” She said she had found the sending of the material particularly violating, “I am a survivor of abuse and rape, I have a right to set my own boundaries.”
The recipient told Gript that she didn’t push back more against the sending of the images at the time as, “I knew that she would try and find some way to punish me, that’s just Linda.” She told Gript that “dick pics sent without warning from men are awful but you can limit the chances of receiving them if you want” but, she asked, “how can you avoid these pics when a friend breaches your trust?”
Hayden, in her position as founder of the Victim’s Alliance, had been a prominent campaigner for the introduction of legislation to make the sharing of intimate images without consent a criminal offense. For her work in this area, and more generally as a victim’s advocate, she was selected as one of the Irish Examiner’s “100 Women of 2021.”
Hayden has been a notable, albeit divisive, presence on Irish Twitter over the past number of years but she has now deleted her social media accounts, parted ways with the Social Democrats, and stepped away from the podcast she had presented on the left-wing Tortoise Shack network.
This followed a series of controversies involving Hayden on social media. Hayden recently had to apologise to the radio presenter Ciara Kelly after having made numerous untrue statements about the presenter. Shortly after Hayden issued that apology it was discovered that Hayden had made statements which were deemed to have been “racist” and “vile.” Hayden initially apologised for the comments and accepted that she had caused “hurt and pain” to the black community, but shortly thereafter deleted her accounts.
At the same time all social media relating to the Victim’s Alliance was also disabled. The Victim’s Alliance has been fundraising heavily over the past year, primarily using GoFundMe, and the deletion of their media channels, combined with a non-operational website, and the disappearance of the group’s founder, led to concerns being raised as to the status of the Victim’s Alliance and the monies that they had collected. Kayleigh Payne, a member of the Victim’s Alliance, told Gript that those concerns were unfounded and that her solicitor possessed documentation which showed all monies were handled appropriately.
Gript offered Ms Hayden multiple opportunities to comment before publication of this article but, at time of print, we have yet to receive any comment or explanation from Ms Hayden.