Kelly Kemmy: ‘What happened to me wasn’t my fault...but it took me a long time to realise that’

Young woman was repeatedly raped by her foster father over a seven-year period

Kelly Kemmy waived her right to anonymity. Photograph: Laura Hutton

Kelly Kemmy waived her right to anonymity. Photograph: Laura Hutton

 

A young woman who was repeatedly raped by her foster father over a seven-year period has said she feels she can “breathe a sigh of relief” after his sentencing on Friday.

“Everything I locked up has gone away and I feel like I took my power back from him,” Kelly Kemmy (24) said.

Speaking to the Irish Times, Ms Kemmy said she will “still have a long road to recovery but I feel a weight was lifted off my shoulders today”.

Ms Kemmy’s foster father, Stephen Murray (56) with an address of Humphreystown, Valleymount, Co Wicklow, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to multiple charges of rape, oral rape and sexual assault. He was sentenced to 12 years with one year suspended by Judge Paul McDermott.

Ms Kemmy waived her right to anonymity because she no longer felt she had anything to be ashamed of.

“What happened to me wasn’t my fault, I didn’t do anything wrong, and I have nothing to hide. But it took me a long time to realise that. I’ve been in counselling for three years now and it probably took about two-and-a-half years of that time to realise it wasn’t me, and it’s not a reflection on me,” she said, adding: “I hope this helps others.”

Before reporting the abuse to gardaí, Ms Kemmy feared being separated from her two younger siblings, who were also living in the foster home at the time of the abuse.

“It was the fear of being split up because we were living in that house together for 17 or 18 years and they’re my biological siblings so I didn’t want us to be split up.”

Ms Kemmy moved out on the day she gave her statement to gardaí and her two siblings were removed from the home.

“My life was uprooted that day but fortunately things worked out okay. My brother is renting nearby now and my sister is living with a friend,” Ms Kemmy said, while she now lives with her partner and three-month-old daughter.

“We not only lost a father but also a mother because we no longer have a relationship,” Ms Kemmy said. However, her siblings and extended family have been “really supportive” since she made the decision to report the abuse in 2019 and attended Mr Murray’s sentencing hearings with her this week.

In her victim impact statement, Ms Kemmy told the court she was determined not to let the abuse define her. After her foster father’s sentencing, she said she was “just looking forward to being able to move on with my life with my partner and my little girl”.