Lorraine Mulvey, who spoke out yesterday to help rape victims, said she is now looking forward to a new life with her fiancé.
Lorraine, 41, who lives just outside Skibbereen in West Cork, said she has found “peace and happiness” with Billy Ryan, who popped the question on Valentine’s Day.
“He is relaxed, happy- go-lucky and never questions me — he just says ‘do whatever makes you happy’,” she said.
Lorraine was speaking last night following a string of interviews prompted by the publication of her powerful victim impact statement in yesterday’s Irish Examiner.
She waived her right to anonymity and spoke about how she was raped as a child by her father in a bid to encourage other victims to seek help.
She is overwhelmed by the support which poured in from around the country.
“The response has been absolutely incredible,” said Lorraine.
“We’ve been inundated with text messages and phone calls of support from family we haven’t seen for years, from friends, from neighbours and from people who don’t even know us.
“I just hope what I did encourages other people who are victims of abuse to come forward and seek help.”
Her father, Ray Mulvey, a former army sergeant, began abusing her in 1975 when she was 5, in the family home on the Curragh Camp. The abuse continued when the family moved to Douglas in Cork and continued until she left the family home at 17.
Mulvey, aged 66, of Ferney Grove, Mahon, Cork, pleaded guilty to seven charges of the sexual assault of his daughter between Aug 1975 and Aug 1988 at locations in Co Kildare and Cork, and a charge of rape in the family home in Cork.
Mr Justice Paul Carney sentenced him to 12 years in prison but suspended the final six years on the condition he stays away from his daughter.
In her victim impact statement, Lorraine said she felt as if she had worn a mask for years to escape the reality of her life.
Following the court hearing, the anger and frustration which she had buried for years has left her.
Now, thanks to the support of her family, particularly her sister Séad, she is looking forward to the rest of her life with renewed hope.
Support groups praised Lorraine’s decision to go public.
“Lorraine demonstrated huge courage and generosity of spirit in speaking out,” said Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.
Mary Crilly, from the Sexual Violence Centre in Cork, said Lorraine showed “amazing courage”.
Sally Hanlon, director of Support After Crime Service, helped Lorraine with her victim impact statement and said she said she was very proud of her.
“I hope that Lorraine’s case shows people that help is available,” she said.
* National 24-hour helpline: 1800 77 8888; Support After Crime: 021 432 0555; supportaftercrimeservices.ie
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