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STAND UNITED My heart breaks for Ashling Murphy’s family but her legacy could bring change Ireland needs, says DWTS pro Laura Nolan

The International Open champion starred in RTE’s Ultimate Hell Week to raise funds for Women’s Aid and to “inspire” women and young girls.
In the gruelling show, celebrities and athletes competed in feats such as sliding over a rope, climbing up narrow ladders, and holding a boat over their heads.

Laura chose Women’s Aid because it is a “charity close to her heart”.

And she hopes the Murphy family is proud of their late daughter, 23, whose death has highlighted the need for reform in Ireland.

The actress stated, “It’s really emotional and all I can say is that my heart and thoughts are with her family.

“So many individuals are abused, and it doesn’t happen every day.

“Every day of the week, abuse occurs. We can all attempt to alter things, but my heart and thoughts go out to the poor family.

I know a lot of people, including my own friends, who have been affected deeply.

“We can alter this if we come together as a nation.

“And when something awful happens, it really brings it home.

“I think Ashling’s family should be proud of her for shining the light. This awful event may affect something else in life.”

The dancer also talked about prior abuse and how she intended to encourage other women in similar situations.

Laura told the Irish Sun: “When I was dancing, I was abused mentally and physically.

“That’s why I chose Women’s Aid based on personal experience.

“I looked it up and the pandemic increased Women’s Aid cases by 90%, so I thought it was the right opportunity to aid such an incredible charity that benefited women.

“I said on the show that I did it to empower women and make them feel like they can accomplish anything.

“Sometimes people who come to Women’s Aid feel like they’re in a hole and nobody else would understand, help, or listen to them.

When one woman saw me doing all this crazy stuff on TV, she could think, ‘Hold on a second, I could pull myself out of this circumstance,’ and she might be right.

“It empowers them to take control of their own life — but not only that. The messages suggesting I was an inspiration for women and young girls.

“That got me emotional. ‘Every young girl and woman in the country will look up to you and you will inspire them,’ Ray (from Ultimate Hell Week) stated as I was leaving.

“To be honest, those remarks remained with me, and that was my goal coming in. So far, the feedback has been incredible.”

We need to try to show people that women are “just as powerful as men in any manner — if not stronger mentally”.

“I knew going in there that people were going to have a preconceived notion of me and that I wouldn’t last the day,” Laura said.

But I wanted to show everyone wrong: you can’t judge a book by its cover.

“No one knows the hours, years, devotion, and sacrifice I made to become a World Open champion.

This required years of hard work and adversity, which people don’t see.

handle it so it doesn’t turn into what occurred yesterday.