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

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,893 ✭✭✭Kersh


    eviltwin wrote: »
    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.

    Thank you, :)

    Im no more honest or brave than you, or any other survivor, we all lived it.

    I think it might be important for survivors to now that you can take it all of the way via statements, DPP, arrests, all of the way to court, and on to conviction.

    That said the court process was not what I thought it would be.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,178 ✭✭✭volchitsa


    Kersh wrote: »
    Thank you, :)

    Im no more honest or brave than you, or any other survivor, we all lived it.

    I think it might be important for survivors to now that you can take it all of the way via statements, DPP, arrests, all of the way to court, and on to conviction.

    That said the court process was not what I thought it would be.

    Could you explain this a little - I mean, I can imagine that it's the way the plaintiff/victim gets interrogated as though they were the one on trial, but I'm wondering whether, in hindsight now you can find any positive aspects to the way the trial goes? Or would you think a more investigative, less inquisitorial justice system, more like what they have in Continental Europe would be more bearable for victims?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,893 ✭✭✭Kersh


    volchitsa wrote: »
    Could you explain this a little - I mean, I can imagine that it's the way the plaintiff/victim gets interrogated as though they were the one on trial, but I'm wondering whether, in hindsight now you can find any positive aspects to the way the trial goes? Or would you think a more investigative, less inquisitorial justice system, more like what they have in Continental Europe would be more bearable for victims?

    Yes its exactly that. Ill rewind to the start of the process.

    So, once the process begins, I thought, great, Ill make him face his crimes, Ill get to put forward what happened, and tell the court everything, and surely, he will be found guilty.

    What actually happens is that his side do everything in their power to not let you mention abuse. All they want to do is have you say "I cant remember" repeatedly, as many times as possible, so the barrister can turn to the jury and say "sure he cant remember anything" then follow it up with " I put it to you, that this in fact never happened".

    That is where you need the inner strength to say, clearly, as I did, "It did happen, I was there, and he knows it".

    I was asked everything from the position of the window, the location of the bedroom, the colour of the walls, the carpet colour, etc etc. some I knew, others I didnt.

    Then they ask the same question phrased different ways, to try trip you up. They want you to look flustered, and unsure. Which thankfully, I didnt.

    Even when they pulled out evidence that was wrong, I just said, "whats in there is wrong", and I was aware enough to be clear and concise.

    Eventually, after 3 days of this, my side stand up and go through my statement, asking what happened. Which lasts a half hour or so, maybe an hour. Thats the only moment you get to illustrate what happened, its very straight to the point, because you cant err from your Garda statement.

    Feelings wise, I felt it was me on trial, but then, I am only a state witness, as its the State vs Brian Doolan, not me vs. But that only really occurred to me during the trial, as it all unfolded.

    Once its all over, and the jury go out, its a waiting game, kind of like the worst ever Leaving Cert post mortem that goes on for days.

    What if, what about, and remember when it was said... endless questions !!

    What made it worse was the judge allowed the jury home for a bank holiday weekend, to return on a Tuesday to continue deliberating. One of the legal teams asked would Monday be better to which he joked "Ill be on my yacht, Tuesday it is"

    What didnt help, I thought in my case was that when the guilty verdicts came in, at sentencing, the judge actually said "now Mr Doolan, the best I can do for you is 12 years with 2 suspended", which garnered a few wry looks from my legal team and the Gardai. He could have used better language in my opinion.

    The high points if you can call it that, was facing him in court, letting him know I was ready. Also, reading out my victim impact statement myself, directly to him was also quite good, and in my reading it, I remembered my 13 year old self, and acknowledged him a lot internally. That I did it for him, and anyone else that never made it to court to face their abuser.

    Im sure the judge could have been a bit more, whats the word, aware of the damage done to victims of abuse, especially after the verdict was already in.

    If all that makes sense!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,178 ✭✭✭volchitsa


    It does (make sense). Thanks for that.

    I do always wonder when I read about children especially, if the oppositional nature of the Irish and English justice isn't unnecessarily traumatic compared to the European approach, but TBH I have no experience of either system really, it just seems logical to me.

    (And I also know of someone else who had a similar experience, she was attacked while out jogging in a park, and the defence seemed to think that if she couldn't identify which tree the attack happened under, then that would discredit her case - like WTF is the point? In her case the jury didn't believe it either. So I just can't see why they have recourse to it, it seems like deliberately attacking the victim just to traumatise them further.)


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,388 ✭✭✭Gloomtastic!


    Kersh wrote: »

    What didnt help, I thought in my case was that when the guilty verdicts came in, at sentencing, the judge actually said "now Mr Doolan, the best I can do for you is 12 years with 2 suspended", which garnered a few wry looks from my legal team and the Gardai. He could have used better language in my opinion.

    :eek:


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  • Registered Users Posts: 492 ✭✭CosmicFool


    I'm sure you've been asked a million times but do you think 12 years with 2 suspended was enough or just knowing he was found guilty enough or does it matter to you now?

    I can't get over the statement from the Judge when sentencing him. It's just shocking. Do you think Judges are too lenient or is it the Law that is too lenient and needs reforming?


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,709 ✭✭✭cloudatlas


    I don't think this is the best space for you Stephen. I don't know if you are aware but there is a forum on here called After hours which attacks and pulls apart news reports of rape trials and speak in very derogatory terms about victims and their experiences, this forum is a staple on boards and these conversations are very much encouraged and promoted by the site. In light of that why have you chosen to do a Q&A on this site?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,630 ✭✭✭Aint Eazy Being Cheezy


    How do you feel about the abuser being able to retain their anonymity in the press if their victim insists on maintaining theirs? I understand that sometimes the accused isn’t named to protect the victim, but should it not be the victims choice, only following a guilty verdict of course.


  • Registered Users Posts: 350 ✭✭Taiga


    That judge, what a bastard. I can't put it eloquently. Scary to read that. Disgraceful.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,926 ✭✭✭trout


    I just want to applaud your courage, and dignity and strength of character.

    Sunlight really is the best disinfectant ... taking the stand you took, going public, the convictions, the subsequent advocacy, all of it ... truly admirable.

    You are absolutely right in being so honest and open; you have done nothing wrong and you have nothing at all to hide.

    My only hope is that by waiving anonymity and "owning" this shocking abuse, you will make it so much harder for future abusers to hide in the shadows.

    *tips hat*


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


    I guess these guys must be the evilest of human beings there is, doing that to a child, using his knowledge of the law to try and get away with it, the harassment post conviction....vile

    We had a cousin of my Dads who was convicted for molesting his daughter, maybe 20 years ago. She went public at the time.
    The one morsel of respect anyone could have left for him is that he pleaded guilty and spared her the ordeal


  • Registered Users Posts: 533 ✭✭✭S.L.F


    I have a friend from Donegal who also suffered at the hands of his uncle. It has really made his life difficult to live especially when it was his mother who used to bring him to be abused knowing exactly what was happening. Last time I saw him he was living with a woman and their child.


    God's love to you and I hope you have healed from what you went through.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,893 ✭✭✭Kersh


    CosmicFool wrote: »
    I'm sure you've been asked a million times but do you think 12 years with 2 suspended was enough or just knowing he was found guilty enough or does it matter to you now?

    I can't get over the statement from the Judge when sentencing him. It's just shocking. Do you think Judges are too lenient or is it the Law that is too lenient and needs reforming?

    Its never enough is it? I can look at it a few ways.

    I was one of the lucky ones to make it all of the way, so anything was a bonus, or I can be unhappy that nothing will ever be enough.

    But I think I took the point with me, that I did get a pretty decent sentence, all things considered.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,893 ✭✭✭Kersh


    cloudatlas wrote: »
    I don't think this is the best space for you Stephen. I don't know if you are aware but there is a forum on here called After hours which attacks and pulls apart news reports of rape trials and speak in very derogatory terms about victims and their experiences, this forum is a staple on boards and these conversations are very much encouraged and promoted by the site. In light of that why have you chosen to do a Q&A on this site?

    If I approached life like that I would have sat on my hands forever and never faced it. Nothing is ever perfect.

    Ive been on here a long time, and frequent a few of the forums, mainly Business, Cars and Astronomy, so Im well aware what Boards can be like. I stick to the topics that interest me.

    If I didnt like the site, I wouldnt be on it. Im doing this AMA because I thought some people might have some questions.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,893 ✭✭✭Kersh


    How do you feel about the abuser being able to retain their anonymity in the press if their victim insists on maintaining theirs? I understand that sometimes the accused isn’t named to protect the victim, but should it not be the victims choice, only following a guilty verdict of course.

    I think unfortnately in most cases, there can always be a link drawn if a victim remained anonymous and an abuser was named, as a lot of buse is within a family.

    However in the cases where there is no link, such as unrelated abuser/victim, I dont see why the abuser cant be named and the victim remain anonymous.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,893 ✭✭✭Kersh


    trout wrote: »
    I just want to applaud your courage, and dignity and strength of character.

    Sunlight really is the best disinfectant ... taking the stand you took, going public, the convictions, the subsequent advocacy, all of it ... truly admirable.

    You are absolutely right in being so honest and open; you have done nothing wrong and you have nothing at all to hide.

    My only hope is that by waiving anonymity and "owning" this shocking abuse, you will make it so much harder for future abusers to hide in the shadows.

    *tips hat*

    Thanks you, I figure if I shout loud enough, some victims will gain strength :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,411 ✭✭✭✭Trojan


    No questions, just another shout out to say fair play to you for your bravery, it's admirable how you've handled this adversity.

    Chapeau.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,893 ✭✭✭Kersh


    Trojan wrote: »
    No questions, just another shout out to say fair play to you for your bravery, it's admirable how you've handled this adversity.

    Chapeau.

    Thank you :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,854 ✭✭✭✭MetzgerMeister


    It churned my blood to read that the judge said "Now Mr Doolan, the best I can do for you is 12 years". I swear to God if I was in your position I would have stood up and let loose at the judge. This man is after being convicted of 38 counts of rape and abuse and he's treating him like a friend? Fvck that.

    Fair play to you Kersh for coming through it and doing this AMA.


  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,748 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx


    It churned my blood to read that the judge said "Now Mr Doolan, the best I can do for you is 12 years".I swear to God if I was in your position I would have stood up and let loose at the judge. This man is after being convicted of 38 counts of rape and abuse and he's treating him like a friend? Fvck that.

    Fair play to you Kersh for coming through it and doing this AMA.

    +1.
    I wish that had been publicised widely at the time and that he was put through the wringer for that despicable comment.

    I read in a recent case where a little girl asked her mam was she the one in the wrong after her abuser was convicted because a lot of the wider family sided with the abuser, and no longer spoke to her or her parents. Heartbreaking.

    Fair play to you OP, for coming through all of this and thanks for doing the AMA.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,127 ✭✭✭✭Purple Mountain


    You sound amazing.
    Love to you and your wife and sincere thank you for helping to bring down a veil of secrecy that still exists in Ireland.

    To thine own self be true



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,893 ✭✭✭Kersh


    Apologies for delays! Ill reply to latest posts when I open my laptop later :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,893 ✭✭✭Kersh


    It churned my blood to read that the judge said "Now Mr Doolan, the best I can do for you is 12 years". I swear to God if I was in your position I would have stood up and let loose at the judge. This man is after being convicted of 38 counts of rape and abuse and he's treating him like a friend? Fvck that.

    Fair play to you Kersh for coming through it and doing this AMA.

    Well, my uncle writes law books and was a barrister himself, and is of similar age.

    But really, in there, its cold, calculating and I thought it much of a game to the prosecuting side. In the way the questions were put and the prosecuting barristers posturing whilst asking. I think he actually enjoyed trying to ask as many questions as possible that elicited a "no" answer from me.

    At one point, regarding a particular door being open, I said at one stage I didnt know if it was open, and later on he said "sure earlier you said it was closed" to which I replied "no, I said I didnt know". Always trying it on.

    One thing I will add, was that the Gardai in Terenure were absolutely brilliant in their handling of my situation and the case in general. They came in to One in Four for the statements, and were fully trained in dealing with these types of cases.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,893 ✭✭✭Kersh


    +1.
    I wish that had been publicised widely at the time and that he was put through the wringer for that despicable comment.

    I read in a recent case where a little girl asked her mam was she the one in the wrong after her abuser was convicted because a lot of the wider family sided with the abuser, and no longer spoke to her or her parents. Heartbreaking.

    Fair play to you OP, for coming through all of this and thanks for doing the AMA.

    Thanks :)

    Yes I think that happens in a few cases that some side with the abuser. Difficult to comprehend that one.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,893 ✭✭✭Kersh


    You sound amazing.
    Love to you and your wife and sincere thank you for helping to bring down a veil of secrecy that still exists in Ireland.

    Thank you :)

    Yes I think its slowly being dragged out into the open. I think the key is for more victims to just try and put aside what people think, and name as many abusers as possible.

    But then thats easy for me to say since Im here doing an AMA after being on Marion Finnucane, in the papers and talking to 300 odd people in the Mansion House. But hey, If I think I can do it, I will :pac:


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,854 ✭✭✭✭MetzgerMeister


    Kersh wrote: »
    Well, my uncle writes law books and was a barrister himself, and is of similar age.

    Not to knock your post but if I was in the judge's position I would be horrified to have those associations with someone after they were convicted of even 1 count, let alone 38.


  • Boards.ie Employee Posts: 12,597 ✭✭✭✭✭Boards.ie: Niamh
    Boards.ie Community Manager


    I want to say a heartfelt thank you to Stephen for coming on here and being so open about his experiences with us all. It's been an eye-opening experience. Thank you so much for offering and for taking the time to do this Stephen. We wish you all the very best in the future.


    If anyone has been affected by any of the issues mentioned in the thread, please do contact One in Four or your nearest Rape Crisis Centre for help.


This discussion has been closed.
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