Woman defiled as child by first cousin tells court she feels punished by family for reporting abuse

A woman, who was defiled by her first cousin when she was 12 years old, has told a Tralee court that she feels punished and blamed by her extended family for reporting the abuse she suffered.

The accused man, who is now 26, pleaded guilty to one count of defiling a child including having sex with her at a house in Kerry in July 2006, when he was 14.

In a victim impact statement, which the woman, who is now 24, read to the court she said she disclosed her secret to her then-boyfriend when she was 19; it took her months to make the difficult decision to tell her family.

She said before the disclosure she dealt with it through sleeping even though she suffered nightmares and flashbacks; she became unable to sit and concentrate and ended up dropping out of college.

The woman, who has attended counselling at Kerry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, said she is in a constant battle between remembering and forgetting.

The woman said the family has been split, she feels punished and blamed by her extended family for having reported and she feels she has lost out with relatives.

The woman said she feels the need to grieve for the loss of her childhood self as she feels disconnected with her own life and body.

Barrister for the accused Anthony Sammon said his client, who very much regrets his actions, was 14 at the time and admitted to having sex with the girl out of curiosity.

Judge Tom O’Donnell said he was concerned the victim has been victimised further by her family and told her she was right to make the complaint and shouldn’t feel guilty; he commended her remarkable bravery.

The case was adjourned until January 15th to set a sentencing date.