‘Sen­tenc­ing for pae­dophiles is a joke ... it took me many years to get over the trauma’

Irish Independent - - News -

ABUSE sur­vivor Shaneda Daly has branded the sen­tenc­ing of pae­dophiles and sex­ual preda­tors “a joke” in the wake of the Tom Humphries case.

She has also of­fered sup­port to oth­ers who have suf­fered sex­ual abuse, in an emo­tional let­ter re­call­ing how she was care­fully groomed as a child.

“As usual in this coun­try, the sen­tenc­ing of pae­dophiles and sex­ual preda­tors is a joke,” wrote Ms Daly in the let­ter posted on In­de­pen­dent. ie in re­sponse to the Humphries sen­tence.

There was wide­spread out­rage last week as the for­mer ‘Ir­ish Times’ jour­nal­ist re­ceived a two-and-a-half year jail term for abus­ing a teenage girl.

“As a per­son who was sex­u­ally abused my­self and groomed all my child­hood and went on to press charges against my fa­ther, Harry Daly, I’d like to give some in­sight of how it af­fects a per­son’s life,” wrote Ms Daly.

“My abuse be­gan when I was six and con­tin­ued un­til just be­fore I turned 18 ...

“I showed no ob­vi­ous signs of the hell I was go­ing through at home. From a very young age, my fa­ther called me his princess.

“He made me feel like I was his favourite and he loved me more than any­one else, he never threat­ened me not to tell, in­stead he told me he would be the one to be taken away.

“Only now I re­alise that in it­self was a threat to a young child.”

She added: “I was groomed and to­tally un­der his con­trol; at least once a day I would be sex­u­ally abused and most days it was a cou­ple of time a day.”

When she be­came older, she re­calls that “un­like all my friends who were ex­pe­ri­enc­ing nor­mal teenage sex­ual ac­tiv­i­ties like los­ing their vir­gin­ity, I had lost mine many years be­fore”.

The abuse only stopped when Ms Daly moved out but she “lived in fear of this con­tin­u­ing into my adult years”.

Although she spoke to gar­daí and her mother was also in­formed, Ms Daly says that ul­ti­mately “We all acted like noth­ing had hap­pened... it was never spo­ken about again”.

“I went on to have my own fam­ily, we all acted nor­mal

un­til I was 26 and my fa­ther tried to groom me again. He sex­u­ally as­saulted me again but this time I stood up to him. I left the house, I told my mother, yet she stayed with him. I con­tin­ued to speak to my mother but I never saw my fa­ther af­ter that day.”

She added: “I felt such a fool, it took me many years to re­alise I has been groomed and that was the con­trol he had over me. It was 2010 when I pressed charges against my fa­ther.

“He was charged with 227 sam­ple charges, 100 sam­ple charges of rape alone. But I had never looked at it as rape be­fore but that’s be­cause I was groomed.”

She noted that her fa­ther would go on to be sen­tenced to 15 years in prison, with five years sus­pended. “My mother stood by him.”

Ms Daly says she went into “a mas­sive de­pres­sion and iso­lated my­self from life. It was the loneli­est four years of my life”.

“I took on the big­gest fight of my life, which was my men­tal health. I fought so hard to get where I am to­day. In the last year I can feel my­self com­ing back to my­self. The heartache I went through all be­cause my fa­ther thought it was OK to have sex­ual re­la­tions with his daugh­ter, a lit­tle child and be­cause my mother stood by this man.

“I felt so un­wanted and so unloved.

“It took me so many years to get over this trauma and find my­self. And I have ... well nearly... I still feel I’ve a lit­tle bit more to go. And yet just as I get back to my­self, my fa­ther will be re­leased next year.”

Ms Daly now runs a sup­port page on Face­book called Sur­vivors Side by Side.

“I found it such a lonely road to walk and just wanted to help in any way I could. Just to have some­one at the other end of the phone might help.”

Abuse sur­vivor Shaneda Daly

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