Wednesday 7 December 2016

Father's sex abuse made childhood 'a war zone'

Sonya McLean

Published 20/10/2015 | 02:30

James Broderick (77), of Lyster Street, Athlone, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to sample charges, which included three rapes and three indecent assaults in the family home in Athlone on dates between January 1983 and September 1984.
James Broderick (77), of Lyster Street, Athlone, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to sample charges, which included three rapes and three indecent assaults in the family home in Athlone on dates between January 1983 and September 1984.

A woman has told how her father's repeated abuse and rape of her as a young girl was "a defining experience in my life that framed everything that follows and continues".

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Rita Broderick (46) described her childhood as "a war zone" and said the skills she used to help her survive the abuse by her father, James Broderick (77), had cost her dearly in her adult life.

Her father, of Lyster Street, Athlone, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to sample charges, which included three rapes and three indecent assaults in the family home in Athlone on dates between January 1983 and September 1984.

Ms Broderick took the stand to read her victim impact statement. She said that the constant abuse meant that she had to disassociate to allow her to cope and now she suffered from Dissociative Identity Disorder.

"I have many distinct personalities sharing my body and I am surviving that abuse for many personalities," Ms Broderick said, before she added that her father's actions "physically, emotionally and socially raped me".

Ms Broderick, who now lives in America and made her statement of complaint to officers in Denver, Colorado, waived her right to anonymity so her father could be named in the media.

The sexual abuse began when she was four and the family lived in Manchester.

It continued when they moved to Athlone, in Westmeath, when she was 13 and ended when, as a 15-year-old, she lashed out and ran from the house. The Garda investigation began after Mr Broderick arrived at Athlone Garda Station in November 2011 to report his own abuse of his daughter. He made a voluntary statement the following January outlining the repeated abuse and rape of his daughter in the family home from 1982 to 1984.

"The abuse is corrosive and filters down into your bones and into the soul of the victims," Ms Broderick continued in her victim impact statement.

She added that "the sexual gratification and powerful bliss" experienced by the abuser, controls the abused for the rest of their lives.

She said the control visited on her by her father had been "alive and well" when writing her victim impact statement and added that she was continually trying to prevent "the shadow of his bullying from attacking my resolve".

Comfort

"I hope my words have been as debilitating for my father to hear as his actions have been on my life," Ms Broderick concluded, after thanking her brother, a friend, and the investigating sergeant, Andrew Haran, in the case.

Mr Broderick also took the stand to apologise to his daughter. "I didn't know until today that her health was so bad. I am so sorry for what I have done to you, really and truly sorry. I hope that your health can be improved in the very near future," Mr Broderick said, before he asked his daughter to accept his "very real apology" and extended it to the rest of his family.

He was remanded in custody until November 2, when Mr Justice Tony Hunt will pass sentence.

The judge complimented Ms Broderick on "an eloquent statement" and said whether "it reaches its initial target or not", he was sure it would be of great comfort to other victims in a similar position.

Irish Independent

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