A WOMAN has claimed that she was raped and imprisoned by her stepfather throughout her teenage years and that he fathered five of her children.
In a story reminiscent of the case of Austrian Josef Fritzl, who locked his daughter in a cellar and fathered her seven children, the woman alleges the abuse began in Ireland in a “small town where everyone knew everyone else” when she was just 12 years old.
In a harrowing interview on Newstalk radio yesterday, the woman, “Catherine”, claimed that her stepfather began raping her on an isolated farm near her home.
“He was abusive and violent and a big man. I told my mother he was touching me and she called me a liar,” said Catherine.
She claims that when, years later, she went to the gardaí, the Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to take the case any further.
She said she was “baffled” by a system that could “say no” to victims of abuse attempting to seek justice.
Last night, Fine Gael spokesman for children Alan Shatter called on Minister for Children Barry Andrews to meet with the woman to hear her story.
He said if her claims were true, the DPP should explain the decision not to pursue the case.
Both the Health Service Executive and gardaí last night said they were not in a position to verify the woman’s claims owing to the absence of further details.
When she was 18 and already had one child, the woman says, her stepfather moved her into a separate house away from the family.
“There was no escape,” she said, adding she was “18 or 19 when I discovered I was pregnant again”.
By the time she was 21, she had four children and was raising them alone.
“Then I got talking to a girl across the wall. She asked me was I OK. The health nurse sent a social worker, but I was terrified that he would find out because I depended on him for everything,” she said.
Although Catherine says she told social workers what was happening, she claims no action was taken.
With the help of a neighbour, she fled to the US.
She later returned home to try to get her children back, but claims her stepfather threatened to kill her.
“He put me in the car and he raped me,” she said.
“Sixteen years, that’s how long I have been doing this. My case still hasn’t been heard in the courts.
“That man will never ever know what he did to me.
“I go out and I rob a car and if I get caught I’d be put behind bars, but to take and destroy somebody’s life to that level, that’s OK — that’s what I hear my country say to me.”
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