Sex assault victims urged to fight back

THE Kerry victim in the sexual assault case that has incensed the nation hasappealed to other victims of sexual assault to stand up for their rights and to be confident that “no means no”.

In an emotional interview on RTÉ Radio’s Marion Finucane show, the 24-year-old woman revealed how she never considered not taking the case against perpetrator, Danny Foley, but that she didn’t want her parents in court to hear the harrowing details.

She revealed how she had asked that her youngest sister and her parents not attend because “they’ve gone through an awful lot as well as me and I just couldn’t bear my mother and father sitting there listening to what I went through detail by detail and to hear his side of it as well”.

The woman’s mother did attend court where the victim said she felt terrified.

“When you go up to the box, you’re there and the jury’s straight across from you and he’s [Danny Foley] right behind you, that was what made me so nervous . . . it brought every single memory of that night back into my head, it felt like I wasrepeating the night over again.”

The woman also described how she felt that she was on trial when a queue of people lined up in court to shake hands with Foley. “Not one of them looked at me.

“I felt like I was on trial, that I had done something wrong, it was like a funeral home.”

She said that she now suffers from depression and paranoia: “I freak out if I hear the slightest noise outside in my back garden, it might be only a cat or something but I freak out.”

Despite the media coverage that has surrounded her assault, she wanted to tell other female victims of sexual assault to stand up for their rights and to be confident that “no means no”.

At a separate press conference in Listowel on Saturday, the woman called for changes in court procedure so that victims would not have to read their impact statements in front of a hostile crowd.

She also said she did not have any bad feelings towards the Foley family and, while she would never forgive Danny Foley for what he did she did not hate him.


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