Woman claims her father brought her by the hand to neighbours who raped her

Woman suing father for sexual abuse says he is lying when he denies it

Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

 

A woman suing her father for sexually abusing her as a child and for facilitating neighbours to do the same has told the High Court her father was lying when he denied the incidents ever happened.

The woman, now in her 30s, claimed the abuse happened in the 1980s when she was between four and six and lasted until her mother took her and her sister to a women’s refuge.

The children were later put into foster care after the child told social workers her mother also abused her. Her mother ended up in a psychiatric institution three years later and remains there.

She is suing her father for damages for sexual abuse and assault. He denies her claims.

The court heard that two years after they left the family home, when she was eight, she gave a statement to gardaí outlining the alleged abuse.

A file was sent to the DPP who decided not to prosecute. A social worker was told by the health board solicitor the DPP decided the children were too young to give evidence, the court heard.

In 2010, when she was an adult and made her own complaint to gardaí, the DPP also decided not to prosecute.

After that she decided to bring civil proceedings to make her father take responsibility for having “ruined my life and my child’s life”. The court heard she had a son when she was 18 but had to give him up to be fostered because she was unable to cope due to the trauma caused by her alleged abuse.

She said she was raped, buggered and digitally penetrated by not just her father but by neighbours in her area whose homes she said her father brought her to while holding her hand. She was abused by both men and women, in her home, their homes, in a car and in a van, she said.

She was forced to watch pornographic videos and her face was slapped when she turned her face away because she did not want to watch, she said.

She was threatened and beaten with a bamboo stick and her father also threatened he would hurt her sister and mother “if you don’t be good”, she said.

Bernard Madden SC, for the defendant, asked her what did she have to say to her father’s denial and that he would say in evidence none of the things she recounted to the court had happened. She replied: “I have a clear memory of what happened, he is lying”.

The woman told the court she suffered panic attacks and ongoing trauma throughout her teenage and adult life as a result of the trauma.

Asked did her parents bring her to a doctor as a result of the bed wetting she suffered as a child, she said she could not remember.

She did not remember telling a social worker when she was nine that she “had no memory of anything”.

When she was an adult, she phoned her father once and told him: “ ‘It is a pity you are not dead’, because I hated him so much.”

Asked by counsel was she on any medication over the years due to panic attacks and anxiety she suffered from, she said she took anti-depressants for a time after her partner died from sudden adult death syndrome in his 20s.

A social worker who interviewed the child after she was taken into care told the court it was decided to carry out interviews with her when it was noticed she was engaging in sexualised type behaviour herself even though she was just seven. In interviews, she gave vivid descriptions of the alleged abuse, the social worker said.

Earlier, the woman told her own counsel Sasha Gayer that after she had her own baby at he age of 18, it triggered a lot of memories. “I was terrified I was going to touch him [her son] wrongly and the trauma just got worse for me”.

The abuse had had “an awful effect” on her.

“I was struggling and am still struggling to this day, it is so hard and has taken every bit of strength from me physically and mentally”.

She was only able to bring this case with the help of her partner, friends and family members, she said.

The case continues before Mr Justice Michael McGrath and a jury.