‘He took my innocence, dignity and self-worth’

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A young Sligo woman has accused her father of taking her “innocence, childhood dignity and self-worth” by abusing her almost every day for 10 years.

She said that every day of her childhood and teenage years was filled with horrific abuse and some of those memories were still alive in her mind.

In a victim impact statement at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin this week, she said “as a young girl growing up I was abused nearly every day by my father”.

“He took my innocence, childhood dignity and self-worth by abusing me each day; I never felt I was my own person.”

Recalling an incident of attempted rape when she was “cornered” in a cattle shed, she said: “I remember thinking he treated the animals better than me. I told him I felt like a chained up animal.”

The woman said her father would be angry and forceful if she tried to stop him which she said would frighten her.

The court was told that her 50-year-old father has since been diagnosed a paedophile by a psychiatrist and that he began abusing his daughter when she was five years old and after he developed an addiction to pornography.

He pleaded guilty to two attempted rapes and 10 sexual assaults on dates between 2003 to 2012 at the family farm and other areas nearby. He has no previous convictions.

The now 20-year-old woman first disclosed the abuse to her school chaplain when she was 17 years old. She said she always felt different from others and was bullied in school.

She said that a father was supposed to care for and protect his children, but he “treated me like an object that he could use and control”. As a child she felt she was unable to turn to anyone, “even after I realised what was going on”.

More on this case is in this week’s paper.

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