Sexual abuse includes:

  • being raped
  • being forced to take part in sexual acts against your will
  • being made to feel that it’s your duty to have sex with your partner
  • your partner demanding sex or sexual acts
  • being forced to watch and/or use pornography or other sexual aids
  • being forced to have sex with another person or persons other than your partner

A truly devastating video is breaking the internet for all the right reasons. I suggest you watch it, because you might not even think you care about this issue until you’ve seen it, and you’ll probably cry your eyes out. The video opens with young female voice over speaking to her father, who is in shot. As the camera pans down, we see the swollen belly of his female partner and realize the voice speaking is his unborn daughter. She is asking her father to think about the way he interacts with other men about women, because those men will have an impact on her world.

By 14 she will have already been called a “bitch” or a “whore” by her male classmates; by 16 she will have already been groped or pressured into sex by a boy while she is steaming drunk; by 21 she may have been raped; and later in life she may end up in an abusive relationship that puts her life at risk.

“Dear Daddy, I Will Be Called A Whore” – Her Devastating Video Is Breaking The Internet (VIDEO)

She tells her father of the slow descent into mental and physical abuse, of her shame and confusion. How can she be a strong, independent woman with a PhD, and a victim of domestic violence? One day, that “perfect” husband nearly kills her.
The final words of the video are a request to her father, but really, every man and boy in the world.

“Dear Daddy, I know you will protect me from lions, tigers, guns, cars, and even sushi, without even thinking about the danger to your own life. But dear Daddy, I will be born a girl. Please do everything you can so that won’t stay the greatest danger of all.”

“Dear Daddy, I Will Be Called A Whore” – Her Devastating Video Is Breaking The Internet (VIDEO)

The video was put together by Norwegian charity CARE, but it has reverberated around the world — being viewed millions of times. It’s not hard to see why, it is absolutely heartbreaking, and in the most real and tangible of ways.

Excerpt taken from ‘’

If you think you can relate to this video and you would like someone to talk to please call me on 087 2461462


What is meant by Consent

This video explains Consent by using tea analogy.


If you are affected in any way by this video and would like to talk, Contact me to arrange an appointment.

Contact Me

Sexual Abuse

As a Rape Crisis trained counsellor, I am in a position to offer both crisis and long term counselling to men, women or family members affected by any of the issues outlined below, please contact me for an appointment.

Facts and Information About Sexual Violence and Rape

What do we mean by rape and sexual assault?

Rape or sexual assault occurs where a person is subjected to a sexual act (penetration or sexual touching) without his or her consent.  It includes situations where a person is unable to give consent – for example if they are unconscious through sleep, drunkenness or drugged.

The rape or sexual assault may involve threats, coercion or the use of physical force, sometimes with additional acts or violence.

Whether or not physical force is used, rape and sexual assault are acts of violence.  They are a profound physical and personal violation of the individual.  Research shows that the primary motivation in rape and sexual assault is the meeting of the perpetrator’s non-sexual needs for power and domination and their expression of anger, rather than their sexual gratification.

Rape and Sexual Assault

Anybody, regardless of age, gender or circumstances, may be the target of a sexual attack. If this happens to you or someone you know, help and support is available.

Rape and sexual assault are subjects surrounded by ignorance, fear and myths; ignorance when people do not understand the brutal reality of sexual violence; fear on the part of people who feel vulnerable or who have been victimised; and myths that minimise the problem and contribute to ambivalent attitudes about the role of the victim in incidents of sexual assault.

Incidents of sexual violence in Ireland

In 2001 a major nationwide survey, which interviewed 3120 adults in depth, was undertaken on behalf of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (The SAVI Report, McGee et al, 2002, The Liffey Press). This survey discovered that 7.5 % of Irish women and 1.5 % of Irish men have experienced rape or attempted rape in adulthood. One in five women and one in ten men have experienced sexual assault in adulthood.

Myths and attitudes concerning sexual assault and rape

Sexual assault and rape are frightening and distressing topics. We try to distance ourselves from the possibility that we, or somebody we love, could be violated this way. As a society we have adopted certain beliefs and attitudes about sexual violence in an attempt to deny the brutality  of what actually happens, and to reassure ourselves that it could never happen to us.

Myths and widely held but ill-founded beliefs about sexual assault and rape contribute to the fear which victims experience in seeking help or reporting the attack. Frequently people are afraid they will not be believed, or will be blamed for provoking the attack. This contributes to the silence that continues to surround crimes of sexual violence.

Rape and sexual assault are acts of violence

A common belief about rape is that they are the result of an overwhelming sexual urge where the perpetrator loses normal self-control. The reality is that rape and sexual assault are in themselves vicious, violent acts whether or not they are accompanied by other violence, and research shows that the primary motivating factors are anger and the wish to dominate, not sexual desire.

The perpetrator is responsible, not the victim

The belief that rape and sexual assault are sexual acts contributes to the idea that the victim may in some way be responsible for the assault. Women and men who have been raped or sexually assaulted may agonise over what it was in their dress or behaviour that led to the attack, a question that would be considered ludicrous in any other violent crime. It is the perpetrator who is responsible for rape and sexual assault, not the victim. People censor their activities in an attempt to avoid being targeted, but this does not prevent people of all ages, in diverse situations, being sexually assaulted or raped.

The victim may feel something he or she did or omitted to do led to the rape or sexual assault: perhaps he or she agreed to stay late at the office; or was drinking at a party; or took a lift home from a friend, a neighbour or family member. These are things we do all the time quite normally, and usually quite safely. The responsibility for an everyday situation turning into an occasion of rape belongs fully the the perpetrator. In rape the perpetrator takes advantage of an aspect of a situation which provides him or her with the power to rape – it may be the victim’s trust or lack of suspicion, the physical strength of the perpetrator, or any situation where there is an imbalance of power in favour of the perpetrator. This imbalance is increased where, as is often the case, the victim is so shocked and terrified by what is happening, that he pr she becomes frozen and paralysed.

The rapist is usually known to the victim

There is a belief that people are usually assaulted by strangers in dark, lonely places. The SAVI research found that 74 % of those who experienced rape or sexual assault knew the person who assaulted them. The truth is that most rape and sexual assault takes place within a social or family situation. This often adds to the victim’s confusion and self-blame, where the rape may have followed on from a seemingly normal situation. It also means that the victim has to continue their life in a context where they may have ongoing contact with the perpetrator.

Fear of false allegations

Some people believe that people make false accusations of rape or sexual assault out of malice or fear of disapproval of consensual sex. A person who reports a rape or sexual assault undergoes a lengthy Garda interview and an internal medical examination. Months later, she or he faces a court appearance where s/he may be cross-examined on the details of the rape or sexual assault. It is unlikely that a person would put him or herself through such an extended ordeal to substantiate a false allegation, or that an individual could sustain a story which was not true. In reality rape and sexual assault are hugely under-reported crimes. The SAVI research found that only 1 % of men and 8 % of women report rape or sexual assault to the Gardai.

Men are raped and sexually assaulted too

When people think about rape and sexual assault they usually picture the victim as a woman. In fact men are also subjected to sexual assault and/or rape. The SAVI research found that one in eight Irish men have experienced sexual assault or rape, but nearly half of these had never told anyone about it. Men can fear disbelief and even ridicule if they come forward. It is important that men realise that they are not alone in being victimised in this way, and that they can access services and supports.   I work with both male and female survivors of sexual abuse.

Rape is used as a weapon of war and oppression

The nature of rape as an act of violence and domination is highlighted by its use as a weapon in situations of war and political oppression. It is common for invading military to rape women and children and sometimes men: this is seen as ‘the spoils of war’ and as a powerful means of terrorising and demoralising a population. Rape is also used as a weapon of state oppression and torture.

Rape and sexual assault happen within marriage and relationships

When rape and sexual assault happen within a marriage or relationship, they are frequently accompanied by other forms of violence, and can occur on many occasions so that the impact is reinforced again and again. A British Home Office survey in 2001 found that one in 20 British women questioned had experienced rape in adulthood, and that for over half of these women the rapist was a current or former partner. Rape and sexual assault occur in same sex relationships also. It can be additionally difficult for those raped or sexually assaulted by a partner to disclose this, and many victims are caught in an ongoing situation of sexual violence.

Effects of sexual assault and rape

Sexual assault and rape are amongst the most devastating of human experiences. The terror, helplessness, humiliation and pain involved result in severe distress which can have an impact on every aspect of the victim’s life. The effects will vary from person to person because everyone reacts differently to trauma and crisis, and sometimes a person will not react in the way they themselves might have expected. However, certain common patterns emerge.

Common immediate effects

  • These may persist for several days or weeks:
  • Shock and withdrawal: the victim may be unable to speak about the experience. S/he may appear frozen’.
  • Panic and confusion: the victim may be very distraught and may be very frightened and show signs of extreme fear.
  • A tendency to dwell on the details of the assault.
  • Recurrent and intrusive flashbacks of the assault, where for the individual it feels like a reliving of parts of the experience, with all of the feelings and reactions that were there at the time.
  • Sleeplessness and nightmares.
  • Hypervigilance: a person may be on the alert all the time and may be easily startled.
  • Calm and rational: some people respond to severe trauma by retreating from the feelings and becoming very reasoned and logical.
  • Denial: the person may minimise what has occurred and try to deal with it by behaving as nothing has happened.
  • Obsessive washing: the victim may feel dirty and tainted and wash over and over again.
  • Physical trauma: injuries such as bruising, cuts or soreness around the genital or anal area may have been inflicted. If the victim was beaten or physically assaulted, there may be other injuries. However, the absence of physical trauma is not an indication that a person has not been raped.

Common long-term effects

  • Recurrent and intrusive recollections of the assault.
  • Self-blame and guilt: the person may agonise over what it was s/he did which provoked the attack, regardless of the fact that it was not his or her fault.
  • Fear: the person may feel unsafe, even in familiar places with people s/he knows.
  • Deep emotional pain: the person may experience strong feelings of anger, sadness etc.
  • Dramatic mood swings, particularly following exposure to events or places similar to the setting of the assault.
  • Difficulty in trusting, even those whom s/he knows and cares for, and difficulty in trusting and feeling safe in the company of men.
  • Sexual difficulties: recollections of the assault may impinge on the person’s sexual relationship with his or her partner.
  • Impaired concentration and memory.
  • Difficulty in coping with normal routines.
  • Development of addictions ( drink, drugs, food).

Assistance in the aftermath of rape and sexual assault

Help is available in coping with the after-effects of sexual assault and rape. The victim can contact his or her local Rape Crisis Centre where a counsellor will be available to help him or her in the immediate aftermath or in the longer term.

The Rape Crisis Centre 24-hour helpline is available nationally and is open for immediate help and support on 1800 77 88 88.

The Rape Crisis Centre offers a professional counselling service and therapeutic programme for victims of rape, sexual harassment and sexual abuse. By calling the helpline a meeting with a counsellor can be arranged.

Alternatively, I am a trained Rape Crisis counsellor and am available to work privately with survivors of historical or recent abuse.

Additionally I can talk you through the process of reporting and what will happen with legal proceedings.

Healing is possible

No matter how great the victims difficulty in coping with the assault, it does not mean that s/he has developed serious or permanent psychiatric or emotional problems. The victim of sexual violence can recover and reclaim his or her life.

Medical assistance

When a person has been raped or sexually assaulted s/he needs to see a doctor as soon as possible. The idea of a physical examination may be distressing to the victim but from the point of view of his or her personal health, and for forensic evidence if s/he decides to report the crime, it is vital to seek medical help. Where a person wishes to report the crime, the Gardai will designate the medical centre/doctor that has the specialist facilities and training to gather forensic evidence. Friends or relatives can support the victim by accompanying him or her.

Personal health

  • A girl or a woman who has been raped may be at risk of becoming pregnant. The MAP (morning after pill) can avoid pregnancy if it it taken within 72 hours of the rape.
  • Sexual assault and rape may cause an infection with a sexually transmitted disease.
  • The person may be at risk of developing HIV/Aids. A test should be carried out so that appropriate treatment can be prescribed.
  • Sexual assault or rape may produce bruising, tearing or lacerations. The injuries may be internal, in vagina or anus, and need skilled medical treatment.
  • Even where the rape or sexual assault happened some time in the past, it is advisable to have a medical examination to check for internal injuries or infection.

Medical examination for forensic evidence

  • If a victim decides to report an incident of rape or sexual assault to the Gardai, s/he will be asked to undergo a medical examination to collect forensic evidence. This evidence will be used to support his or her case. It is important that this examination is carried out as soon as possible after the incident so as to collect the best possible evidence.
  • The victim should not wash or shower before seeing a doctor as this could destroy evidence.
  • S/he should keep the clothes worn when the attack happened.
  • The doctor will take a note of any cuts, burns, abrasion etc. on the victim’s body and will carry out a pelvic examination, which involves examining the victim’s genital area and inside the vagina and/or anus for injuries.
  • The doctor will take samples of any semen or blood present.
  • Samples of the victim’s hair and swabs from under the fingernails and mouth may be taken.
  • The doctor will also check that internal organs in the pelvic area have not been damaged.
  • A Garda will be present, although the victim will be screened from him or her.
  •  A trained Rape Crisis Centre volunteer will be present to support the victim in the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit, which are in various locations around the country.
  • The evidence gathered by the doctor is sealed and is given to the Gardai for analysis.
  • The victim may be asked to return after a few days in order to photograph any bruising which have developed.
  • Most rape victims do not have visible physical injuries, and the absence of such injuries will not be viewed by a court as an indication that a person has not been raped.
  • The doctor will be called later to give evidence in court, and his or her testimony will carry a great deal of weight.

The Sexual Assault Treatment Unit

Sexual Assault Treatment Units are a specialised medical unit for the forensic testing of victims of sexual violence. Forensic testing is the gathering of evidence which may later be used in a court case. A team of trained women doctors and nurses are available to carry out the forensic medical examination.

The victim’s own doctor

Some victims prefer to visit their own doctor who can carry out a medical examination but will not be in a position to gather forensic evidence. After a sexual assault both women and men often feel more comfortable with a woman doctor and this should be facilitated.

The law regarding rape and sexual assault

The SAVI report showed that, of those reporting being sexually assaulted or raped in adulthood, only 1% of men and 8 % of women had reported the assault to the Gardai. This reflects the perception of many victims that the court proceeding are insensitive and intimidating, and that they will not be treated fairly. A counsellor inthe Dublin Rape Crisis Centre will, in a non-directive way, help the victim explore what s/he considers the best course of action with regards to reporting. The individual will be supported in whatever choice he or she makes.

Sexual offences

A sexual offence is a serious crime and conviction may carry a heavy prison sentence for the offender. At present there are four categories of sexual offence:

Rape is defined in the Criminal Law (Rape) Act 1987 as “unlawful sexual intercourse with a woman who at the time of intercourse does not consent to it”, where the man “knows that she does not consent…or he is reckless as to whether she does or does not consent to it”.

Rape under Section 4 of the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act 1990 is defined as a sexual assault that includes “penetration (however slight) of the anus or mouth by the penis, or penetration (however slight) of the vagina by any object held or manipulated by another person”. It applies to attacks on both men and women.

Aggravated sexual assault is a sexual attack that involved serious violence or causes grave injury, humiliation or degradation to the victim.

Sexual assault is a sexual attack with a less serious level of violence.

Rape, rape under Section 4, an aggravated sexual assault carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, although the maximum penalty is rarely imposed.

Sexual assault carries a maximum penalty of five years.

Since 1991 a husband may be charged with a sexual offence against his wife.

There are special protections in Irish law for minors who have been sexually assaulted or abused.

Reporting a sexual offence to the Gardai (Police)

If a person has been sexually assaulted or raped, and decides to report the crime, s/he should contact the Gardai station nearest to the location of the rape.

  • The Gardai will interview him or her to find out exactly what happened.
  • Usually s/he will be offered the option of being interviewed by a woman police officer.
  • The type of questions s/he will be asked include: the identity of the assailant if known; a description of the assailant,; where and when the incident happened; what precisely was done to him or her; the circumstances of the assault; if there were any witnesses.
  • When finished making the statement, s/he will be asked to sign it.
  •  If the victim remembers other details about the assault at a later stage, s/he can contact the Gardai to make a supplementary statement.
  • The victim is entitled to receive a copy of the statement as soon as possible, and should ask the Gardai to send it to him or her.
  • The victim will undergo a forensic medical examination.
  • The Gardai will then interview the accused, if his or her identity is known.
  • The Gardai will prepare a Book of Evidence, made up by the victim’s statement, the accused’s statement, other witness statements and any forensic evidence which was collected at the medical examination or at the scene of the assault.
  • This is sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who will decide if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with the case. If the DPP does not think the evidence is enough to secure a conviction the case may not proceed.
  • Because rape and sexual assault are criminal offences it is the State which prosecutes the accused assailant and the victim is involved simply as a witness for the prosecution.

Court proceedings

In criminal proceedings, the accused person is known as the Defendant, and the victim is known as the Complainant. Cases are prosecuted in the name of the DPP. There may be delays of months or even years before the case against a person accused of rape or sexual assault is actually heard. The Gardai will keep the Complainant informed of progress and let him/her know the date on which the case will proceed, and the court in which it will take place.

Legal representation

The State will appoint a barrister to prosecute the case. The defendant employs his or her own legal representative, a defense barrister. The victim (Complainant) is not entitled to have legal representation, unless in the course of the case the defense is arguing to be allowed to refer to the victim’s past sexual history. In that event, the Complainant will have legal representation, but only for the part of the hearing that involved the argument as to whether the Complainant’s past sexual history should be allowed to be introduced.

Defendant’s plea

If the defendant pleads guilty the Complainant will not have to give evidence. The judge will set a date for sentencing. The judge may before sentencing request a victim impact report. In this way the impact of the rape or sexual assault on the victim can be taken into account in the sentencing.

Sometimes the defendant agrees to plead guilty to lesser charge. For example, a person accused of aggravated sexual assault may plead guilty to sexual assault. The prosecution barrister will decide whether or not to accept a lesser plea.

Trial by jury

If the defendant pleads ‘not guilty’ a jury of twelve people will be selected. In the Court will be the judge, the jury, the court clerk, the defence barristers and solicitor, the prosecution barristers and solicitor, the defendant, the Gardai and journalists. Members of the public are excluded, but the complainant is entitled to have a friend or family member present. A member of the Rape Crisis Centre will accompany the victim if s/he wishes.

Complainant’s evidence

The compalinant will be called upon to give evidence. The prosecution barrister will ask the Complainant to tell the court what happened, and will lead them through the statement that was already made to the Gardai.

The defence barrister will cross-examine the Complainant on the statement and will try to show that it is untrue or misleadeing. The barrister mat try to discredit the Complainant’s account of events, often by trying to undermine his or her character in front of the jury.

Expert witnesses

Expert witnesses, such as the doctor who examined the Complainant and the garda who took the statement, will give evidence. There may also be other witnesses.

Complainant’s previous sexual history

The defence barrister is not allowed to refer to the Complainant’s previous sexual history, except with the permission of the judge. Where a submission by the defence barrister to introduce the Complainant’s sexual history is made, the Complainant may be legally represented but only during the argument about whether this should be allowed or not.

Decision by the jury

The jury will decide, by a majority of at least 10 to 2, if the defendant is guilty or not guilty. If the defendant is found guilty the judge will pass sentence. The sentence is at the discretion of the judge, up to the maximum penalty. Before imposing a sentence the judge may request a victim impact report.

The victim’s name cannot be published, except in very exceptional circumstances, with the judge’s approval.

For friends and relatives of victims of rape and sexual assault

You have an important role to play in helping the person who has been sexually assaulted or raped in his or her recovery. You can give the same comfort and support you would give to anyone in crisis, be it due to a bereavement, an illness, or a sexual assault or rape.

  • The victim may have many difficult feelings -rage, helplessness, fear, guilt, anxiety, depression etc. It will be helpful to have somebody s/he can trust to listen as the feelings emerge. Don’t try to make him or her ‘forget about it’. Let him or her talk, if s/he needs to, without probing for details.
  • Be aware that the person may find it difficult to talk, or may not always wish to talk. Try to be open and available without placing him or her under pressure.
  • Reassure him or her of your belief and support, that the assault was not their fault, and that people care about them. Understand that it can be very painful and difficult to talk about what happened.
  • On a practical level you may be able to offer help with everyday tasks which the victim may find difficult to cope with, and offer support in his or her attempts to resume a normal life. Other practical supports might include accompanying him or her to the doctor, the Gardai or to court.
  • Rape and sexual assault can affect a person’s feelings about sexuality. While some individuals have little difficulty, the partner of a victim must accept the possibility of a temporary change in their intimate relationship.
  • Be aware that helping someone you love to cope with the impact of rape or sexual assault will take a toll on you as well. You may need to talk to somebody about your own feelings and concerns.
  • Remember, it may take some time for the victim to recover from the experience. Try not to put pressure on him or her to get back to normal before s/he is ready or able.