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