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Now ye're talking - to a survivor of child abuse

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  • 11-11-2019 12:15pm
    #1
    Boards.ie Employee Posts: 12,597 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Boards.ie Community Manager


    If anyone is affected by the issues in this AMA, you can contact One in Four for help and advice. There are also a range of other helpful services listed here.

    Our next guest has successfully convicted his uncle on 42 counts of child sex abuse, including rape. His uncle is serving a 12 year prison sentence at the moment. He waived his right to anonymity in order to have his abuser named publicly. The trial was in 2013 and he was publicly named in 2017. He has given a presentation to 300 people in the Mansion House for the advocacy group One in Four as they helped him through the whole process.
    I figure a lot of victims don't like talking about any aspect of it, and many people feel strange and invasive asking a victim about it. I think it would be interesting to field queries from Boardsies.

    In 2017 Stephen was a guest on RTÉ Radio 1 with Marian Finucane which you can listen to here.

    For more background you can also read this article in the Irish Times from May 2017.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,984 ✭✭✭Kevhog1988


    All i can think to say is fair play to you for doing this and also i hope your ok


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,271 ✭✭✭✭TheValeyard


    Im really not sure what question i could ask, but just to say how brave Stephen is for coming forward and stopping his uncles horrendous and sicking behaviour. I can only imagine the trauma this man endured. Well done for having the courage and strength to speak so openly and honestly about what happened to you.

    If I were to ask a Q, I suppose it would simply be "How are you doing now and are you okay?"

    Fcuk Putin. Glory to Ukraine!



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,891 ✭✭✭Kersh


    Ah thanks :)

    It took years to finally realise and face it all. But once the strength and maturity rose within me to face it, I faced it head-on with family and friends by my side.

    Since the trial, which was horrendous (and not for the reasons most would think) I have just adopted the overall attitude that I cant/wont let the abuse define my life or the things I do, whilst also realising that enormous damage has been done to me.
    I think its all to do with the way you see it.

    As an example, getting all the convictions was possibly the best day of my life, certainly a triumphant day maybe, so instead of that day even getting into the top 5, I challenged myself and headed off to do Everest Base Camp and Island Peak, climbing to 6000m over nearly 4 weeks, jut to see what difficult really means.

    So now, that day in court hearing the verdicts is way down under having kids, getting married, the Himalayan adventure etc.


    Im really not sure what question i could ask, but just to say how brave Stephen is for coming forward and stopping his uncles horrendous and sicking behaviour. I can only imagine the trauma this man endured. Well done for having the courage and strength to speak so openly and honestly about what happened to you.

    If I were to ask a Q, I suppose it would simply be "How are you doing now and are you okay?"


  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Regional East Moderators, Regional North West Moderators Posts: 12,072 Mod ✭✭✭✭miamee


    I know from reading about other people and even from posts on the site here that something like this often causes a rift in the family. Some people are horrified by what has been done, some people don't want to believe it and some people believe it but would rather it was all brushed under the carpet. Was there anything like that in your family or did you get support from them?


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,371 ✭✭✭Gloomtastic!


    Just read the piece in the Irish Times OP, you are so brave to do this regardless of how it reflects on you - you know what Ireland's like!

    I dread to think what happened to the adopted boy. Did you have much contact with him before/after/now?

    Do any of your relatives visit your uncle inside? Has there ever been any reason given why he turned out the way he did?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,891 ✭✭✭Kersh


    Hi,

    Total support from first of all my own family, and all of my Mams sisters (my Aunties) and their sons and daughters, across the board.
    Most, when they were able to, came to court to support me and my family. The trial was in camera, so no public allowed, and limited others, so One in Four had a support room in the court for us, which was amazing, and afforded a huge amount of privacy.


    miamee wrote: »
    I know from reading about other people and even from posts on the site here that something like this often causes a rift in the family. Some people are horrified by what has been done, some people don't want to believe it and some people believe it but would rather it was all brushed under the carpet. Was there anything like that in your family or did you get support from them?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,891 ✭✭✭Kersh


    Hi,

    Thank you :)

    The adopted boy stood by him through it all, even laughing over at us on a number of occasions.

    No visits from any of his sisters, or nephews/nieces. They all seen him for what he was.

    No, no reason given for why he turned out how he did. He was a law Lecturer in DIT and Ive had a few facebook messages from his students telling me how he has referenced in lectures about pedophilia being "normalised" at some point in the future, or words to that effect. They were horrified at the time, but it only dawned on them when they seen his name in the paper.

    Just read the piece in the Irish Times OP, you are so brave to do this regardless of how it reflects on you - you know what Ireland's like!

    I dread to think what happened to the adopted boy. Did you have much contact with him before/after/now?

    Do any of your relatives visit your uncle inside? Has there ever been any reason given why he turned out the way he did?


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,371 ✭✭✭Gloomtastic!


    Kersh wrote: »
    The adopted boy stood by him through it all, even laughing over at us on a number of occasions.

    Wasn't expecting that answer at all! Why? :eek:


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,891 ✭✭✭Kersh


    Who knows, he has nothing else I suppose. Inheritance? Sense of attachment, as he was adopted from Romania when he was 5 or so.

    Anyone's guess is as good as mine!!
    Wasn't expecting that answer at all! Why? :eek:


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,845 ✭✭✭✭somesoldiers


    Jesus hadn't heard about this case- it sent a shiver down my spine as I used to study the book in uni and remembered the author's name, fair play Stephen for going through all this and best of luck to you and your family in the future


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 373 ✭✭careless sherpa


    I read in the article that he had set up a website from prison to taunt you. Has that ceased? Do you think arbour hill is too easy a place for these offenders? Surely he should not have access to a computer


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,891 ✭✭✭Kersh


    I read in the article that he had set up a website from prison to taunt you. Has that ceased? Do you think arbour hill is too easy a place for these offenders? Surely he should not have access to a computer

    Yes he did set up a website, but I havent looked at it, I left it to my wife to sort that out with the Gardai and One in Four.

    I would gain absolutely nothing by looking at the lies Im sure it contains.

    I look at it like this "I know what happened, and anything he tries to do to wriggle out of it means nothing to me, because I was there, I know"

    He has used many points of law in trying to evade conviction first of all during the trial, and also since then with various appeals, all of which so far have failed.

    I dont know how it is in prisons, so I cant comment, and I dont know if he has access to computers in there.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,570 ✭✭✭vriesmays


    Should your uncle's law books still be taught in Irish colleges.


  • Registered Users Posts: 350 ✭✭Taiga


    I've just read your story there and I'm so sorry this happened to you. Your strength is humbling and your kids are lucky to have you as their dad. Thank you for telling your story. It's so important for people to hear and for survivor's of abuse to see they have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

    Best of love and luck to you and your family.x


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,891 ✭✭✭Kersh


    vriesmays wrote: »
    Should your uncle's law books still be taught in Irish colleges.

    Quite probably not, but that's someone else's fight!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,891 ✭✭✭Kersh


    Jesus hadn't heard about this case- it sent a shiver down my spine as I used to study the book in uni and remembered the author's name, fair play Stephen for going through all this and best of luck to you and your family in the future

    Thank you :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,891 ✭✭✭Kersh


    Taiga wrote: »
    I've just read your story there and I'm so sorry this happened to you. Your strength is humbling and your kids are lucky to have you as their dad. Thank you for telling your story. It's so important for people to hear and for survivor's of abuse to see they have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

    Best of love and luck to you and your family.x

    Thank you so much :)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 12,898 ✭✭✭✭Ken.


    Hi Stephen, Boards is a pg-13 site. What advice would you give to any 13-18 year old whom may be reading this thread and is being inappropriately touched/abused by someone?.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,891 ✭✭✭Kersh


    Nosnon wrote: »
    Hi Stephen, Boards is a pg-13 site. What advice would you give to any 13-18 year old whom may be reading this thread and is being inappropriately touched/abused by someone?.

    Difficult to answer in full, but I can give my thoughts.

    Try get out of the situations that put you at risk for a start. If parents send you to a relatives for the weekend, like me, try get out of it.
    If its happening at home, leave and go to a friends when the perpetrator comes home. This is the most important step.

    The courage you build up in taking these steps may prompt you to tell a friend, and share the burden, which is a start. I didnt tell anyone til after it stopped, so I didnt follow that advice!! But hindsight is a great thing.

    The perpetrators tend to choose victims who wont speak up, so gaining the courage to talk to someone will be a breakthrough.

    From my own experience, talk to One in Four, they will guide you, and lay out options for you. They are awesome. But this can often be a case of timing. It took me 2 decades to make that call, but the abuse had long stopped by then.

    Finally, dont be afraid to tell anyone, dont hide and let it happen. You deserve more than that. You will be believed, and its definitely not your fault that it has happened.

    Ill keep running this question through my head and Ill add to it if anything comes to me.


  • Registered Users Posts: 369 ✭✭KrakityJones


    As a father reading about what you went through makes my blood run cold.

    Can I ask if anyone in your family, or any friends had any bit of an inkling that something might be up? I read in the article that a friend of his tried to convince him not to go ahead with adoption. Were there signs that looking back would make it obvious to people that he was an abuser?

    It's terrifying to think that you could leave your kids with someone that you, and everyone else trusts and for that to happen. I don't think I'd ever forgive myself for putting my child in that situation. And I am not suggesting for one second that any of your relatives/friends were in any way to blame for this, though I would imagine they feel guilt regardless.

    This is impossible to answer I guess but what advice could you give for a parent/family member/friend/whoever on what to look out for, both in your own child that something might be happening, or in a person who could be a potential abuser?

    I wish you all the best in future and I have huge respect to you for speaking so openly about it all.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,891 ✭✭✭Kersh


    As a father reading about what you went through makes my blood run cold.

    Can I ask if anyone in your family, or any friends had any bit of an inkling that something might be up? I read in the article that a friend of his tried to convince him not to go ahead with adoption. Were there signs that looking back would make it obvious to people that he was an abuser?

    It's terrifying to think that you could leave your kids with someone that you, and everyone else trusts and for that to happen. I don't think I'd ever forgive myself for putting my child in that situation. And I am not suggesting for one second that any of your relatives/friends were in any way to blame for this, though I would imagine they feel guilt regardless.

    This is impossible to answer I guess but what advice could you give for a parent/family member/friend/whoever on what to look out for, both in your own child that something might be happening, or in a person who could be a potential abuser?

    I wish you all the best in future and I have huge respect to you for speaking so openly about it all.

    Thank you :)

    Another difficult one to put context on.

    No, no one had a clue!

    For my Mam, it was no different than you allowing your kid go to stay with your brother who needed help with the house at any random weekend.

    Looking back, Im not even sure there were any markers for them, he was single, a barrister, law lecturer, wrote academic books, looked after their Mam (my Nanny) in his house, adopted a child, nothing really stands out. Maybe nowadays it might ring a bell or two for some.

    Obviously it was very tough for my Mam, but as a family unit, we support each other. I wouldnt accept her apologies for allowing me to go up there, its no ones fault but his. He abused trust, and his position as the "successful uncle" of that side of the family.

    With regard to the adoption, the child just landed, he told no one in the family. It was a "surprise", so we knew nothing about the guy trying to change his mind, or the fake birth cert stuff until the journalist and gardai went digging in to him.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,289 ✭✭✭Veloce


    I'm glad you have come through this in the way you have kersh, and fair play relaying your story to everyone - it might help other people who have suffered to come forward.

    Random question - but are you still racing cars? Petrolhead asking!


  • Registered Users Posts: 753 ✭✭✭p15574


    Fair play to you and your courage in coming through this, and for doing this AMA and all the previous publicity.

    Do you think it's odd for someone like him to have remained single for so long? Should that make alarm bells ring? Or did he have (adult) girlfriends/boyfriends throughout his life? I'm trying not to cast aspersions on, say, any mature gay or asexual man who's single, but the reality is that most people do get married or are in (or have been in) a long-term relationship when they get to, say, 40. Should someone not be a little bit suspicious of that before allowing their child to stay over - especially if they say they had to sleep in the same bed? I know hindsight is 20/20 etc though.

    And do you think the friend that tried to stop him was remiss in not doing something officially to stop him? How did they know or suspect his predilection?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,891 ✭✭✭Kersh


    Veloce wrote: »
    I'm glad you have come through this in the way you have kersh, and fair play relaying your story to everyone - it might help other people who have suffered to come forward.

    Random question - but are you still racing cars? Petrolhead asking!

    Yes, thats the thinking behind being open about it. Theres nothing to be shameful of, or to hide.

    Only this year I stopped being involved in Motorsport, after over 20 years of racing and engineering cars. I had a good run at it, 4 driving chaminships in 10 full years racing, and engineered/ran 3 other guys to championships, so pretty happy with that :)

    I do still instruct at Mondello along with my wife, who also does. Keeps the eye in, and its a day off from running the businesses :pac:


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,891 ✭✭✭Kersh


    p15574 wrote: »
    Fair play to you and your courage in coming through this, and for doing this AMA and all the previous publicity.

    Do you think it's odd for someone like him to have remained single for so long? Should that make alarm bells ring? Or did he have (adult) girlfriends/boyfriends throughout his life? I'm trying not to cast aspersions on, say, any mature gay or asexual man who's single, but the reality is that most people do get married or are in (or have been in) a long-term relationship when they get to, say, 40. Should someone not be a little bit suspicious of that before allowing their child to stay over - especially if they say they had to sleep in the same bed? I know hindsight is 20/20 etc though.

    And do you think the friend that tried to stop him was remiss in not doing something officially to stop him? How did they know or suspect his predilection?

    Thanks,

    Im not sure, hindsight, especially from todays societal vanatage point, is a great thing, but given that in the eyes of my mam and her sisters, there were other men around, so maybe that allayed any notions.

    Of course, my mam didnt know I was put to bed in his bed, she assumed I was in the spare bedroom.

    I think there was a very large element of him maneuvering himself into his position in the family, regarding education, law, lecturing, the books (some of which are dedicated to my mam!!) etc, so that probably worked in his favour with regards suspicion.

    Yes, I think the other guy should have reported it, definitely, given he came from his circles as far as I know. I dont know how they came to know each other, but according to what I have heard, he knew my Uncles predilection alright, hence him trying to stop him.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,597 ✭✭✭tdf7187


    Don't really have a question except to say I got a bit of a shock when I saw the boards.ie name of the poster taking questions in this thread, I don't know you personally but remember your posts on the motoring forum here, a reminder that many CSA survivors are functional and live successful and happy lives. Best wishes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,891 ✭✭✭Kersh


    tdf7187 wrote: »
    Don't really have a question except to say I got a bit of a shock when I saw the boards.ie name of the poster taking questions in this thread, I don't know you personally but remember your posts on the motoring forum here, a reminder that many CSA survivors are functional and live successful and happy lives. Best wishes.

    Thanks

    Ah yes I could have gone incognito, but I do just think, why should I!

    I am who I am, shaped by my life so far :)


  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 10,437 Mod ✭✭✭✭xzanti


    Nothing to add really. Just wanted to say my hat is off to you. I wish you the very best for the future.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,891 ✭✭✭Kersh


    xzanti wrote: »
    Nothing to add really. Just wanted to say my hat is off to you. I wish you the very best for the future.

    Thank you :)


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  • Registered Users Posts: 17,495 ✭✭✭✭eviltwin


    From one survivor to another well done on this thread, I certainly couldn't do it. Continued good health to you and thank you for your honesty and bravery.


This discussion has been closed.
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