Assault victim feared for her life, judge told
A woman attacked by a gang after she got into their van yesterday told how she feared for her life as some of the men attempted to rape her.
“I was terrified . . . I knew what was being done to me was bad but I knew that they could do something even worse to me,” said the 34-year-old woman in a victim impact statement read on her behalf by prosecution counsel, Patrick McCarthy SC.
The woman’s statement was read out at yesterday’s sentencing hearing for two men at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork following the men’s conviction last November.
One man, aged 21, had been convicted of sexual assault and attempted rape but was cleared of oral rape of the woman at a location in Co Cork on September 13th, 2009. A second man, aged 19, had been convicted of sexual assault, attempted rape and oral rape of the woman on the same occasion while he had earlier pleaded to stealing her car. A third accused, also aged 19, was acquitted of all charges during the trial.
The attack happened after the woman was out socialising. She became intoxicated and got separated from friends and was offered a lift by a number of men in a van.
Yesterday the woman criticised the defence for saying that what happened to her was consensual. “It was horrible how they tried to make out it was consensual, suggesting I would have casual sex with random strangers. How could it be consensual with ripped clothes and bruises?
“Some of the comments being made about me [during the trial] made me feel as if I was being attacked again but in a different way – it was so degrading and humiliating.”
She said the experience had had a hugely traumatic effect as it had stopped her from getting close to people as she feels she would have to tell them what happened to her.
“I hate that I’m seen as a victim . . . I’m still the same person I was but I know that people when they hear what happened to me, they change towards me. It has marked my life.”
Mr Justice Paul Carney remanded both men in custody for sentence on tomorrow.