By Jessica Magee
A woman who was allegedly repeatedly raped by her older brother as a child has challenged him in court to “stand up and admit what you've done”.
The 47-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 56 counts of rape and 15 counts of sexual assault in Co Waterford on dates between December 1983 and June 1988.
On the fourth day of the man's trial, the now 41-year-old woman broke down and told the jury she would not be putting herself through having her “dirtiest secrets being told in front of a room of strangers” if the abuse had never happened.
“It would be quite an elaborate lie, for me to suddenly decide after 30 years that these things happened,” she told defence barrister Colman Cody SC.
“He's put me through this my whole life and he's still putting me through it,” she told the jury, before turning to her brother and saying “you could just stand up and admit what you've done.”
She also said to her brother: “You are not a man.”
The jury has heard that the abuse allegedly started when the complainant was four years old and continued until she was aged 10 or 12.
The woman has claimed that her brother abused her in their family home in Co Waterford and at various other nearby locations including fields, woodlands, school grounds, a community centre and a clubhouse.
She told the court that her brother threatened to “slit her wrists and throat” if she told anyone about the abuse.
The woman had previously told the court that her brother also used to threaten to shoot their mother with the shotgun that their father kept unlocked in a press in their bedroom, if she told on him.
Under cross-examination today, the woman said that one particular day she realised that the gun was no longer there and told her mother “the gun is gone.”
“I thought this might be the end of it,” she said, “but he (her brother) got me on my own later and said 'the gun might be gone but I will slit your wrists and your throat if you tell'”.
The complainant told the court she was raped “countless times” by her brother as a child but that she didn't think it was the amount of times she was raped that was important.
“I think the fact that he did it, that's what's important to me,” said the woman, when questioned about seeming discrepancies between her statements to gardaí and her evidence to the court.
She said that on at least four occasions she was raped on the grounds of an old building, including one incident at night time.
When asked why she had previously told the court she had been raped three times in that area, during daylight, she replied that she had not been “in a good head space” when she gave her initial statements to gardaí in 2015.
“I was doing counselling, I was having flashbacks, I wasn't sleeping,” she said, adding that on the day she gave her statements she had been to see her psychiatrist and someone at the Rape Crisis Centre, both of whom advised her to go to the guards.
“When I made my first garda statement I was very nervous and I wanted to get in and get out. I didn't want to be sitting there for hours,” she said.
The woman was also questioned about having told prosecuting barrister, Caroline Biggs SC, that she was raped nine times in a particular field between the ages of 9 and 11.
“In your statement, you said it happened five or six times when you were aged 10 or 12,” said Mr Cody SC, defending.
“I can't tell you it happened X amount of times. It's not as important to me. I understand the jury would like to know. I do not have a definitive answer. I would not come up here and lie, Mr Cody,” replied the woman.
The woman also described incidents where she said her brother raped her in a concrete tube in a storage yard and in woodland where her father used to chop wood.
When asked why she never objected to going with her brother when he would ask her to go for a walk or sent for her, the woman said she was terrified of him. “What was I going to do? He had told me he was going to shoot my mother,” she said.
“He was like God in our house...He could do no wrong,” she said her of her brother, adding that her brother and father were great friends and that his father “kept all his secrets for him”.
The court also heard details of the pornographic videos which the woman said her father kept in a cupboard in the sitting room and which her brother forced her to watch while re-enacting the sex acts being played out in the films.
The trial continues before Ms Justice Eileen Creedon and a jury of five women and six men.