Tuesday 6 December 2016

Emma Murphy: Gardai probe attack claims made by young mum in Facebook viral video

Mother-of-two Emma Murphy (26) widely praised for speaking about being a victim of domestic violence

Alan O'Keeffe and Conor Feehan

Published 08/07/2015 | 02:30

Emma Murphy
Pic: Facebook
Emma Murphy Pic: Facebook

Gardaí are investigating an alleged assault on a young woman who has been widely praised for 'outing' her former partner as her attacker.

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The assault on young mother Emma Murphy (26) from Ballymun is alleged to have happened at a gym on the northside of Dublin.

Sources have disclosed that officers in Santry Garda Station are investigating the alleged assault after the victim made a complaint about the incident on Friday.

But gardaí have not yet interviewed or arrested the man, named as Francis Usanga, who is at the centre of the complaint.

Read more: Emma praised for bravely taking a stand against domestic abuse

Bodybuilder and budding actor Usanga (28) claimed he pushed the mum of two and did not punch her.

Speaking to the 'Irish Sun', gym owner Usanga, who is due to become a father for the third time this week with another woman, said he pushed Emma but is insistent he did not punch her.

He contends her bruised eye may have occurred as a result of her falling over after the incident.

He told the newspaper: "Yes I did push her. I pushed her, I didn't punch her. It was just the force.

"I did sleep with someone else. But I did not punch and I absolutely did not split her head open.

Emma Murphy's Facebook profile picture
Emma Murphy's Facebook profile picture

"I know nobody will believe me but I am not a violent person. I never, ever want to hurt anyone," he said.

Emma Murphy has been widely praised internationally for speaking about being a victim of domestic violence.

Ms Murphy identified her former partner in a video message on Facebook, where she appears with a badly bruised face.

Read more: Brave Emma Murphy previously harassed by 'Love/Hate' actor

The video has been viewed by two million people and the story has been picked up by major news outlets in Britain, the US and Australia.

Sitting on a stairway in her house, Ms Murphy speaks tearfully about the attack: "I need to do this for me and my children, to raise awareness for other women out there."

She also appealed to women to walk away if they are in danger in their home. "It is difficult for me, but I have to do what is right," she said.

Ms Murphy tells how the man she was in a relationship with punched her and "split her head open" in previous episodes of violence.

"I've been told I'm paranoid, that I'm a psycho, that I'm nuts, and that my insecurities will kill me one day, even up until now he tells me my insecurities will kill me," she explains.

Emma's stance has been praised by women's groups and viewers across the world.

Read more: 'I need to do this to raise awareness for other women'

A spokeswoman for Women's Aid urged women in abusive relationships to seek help. "We don't comment on individual cases but we urge women who might find themselves in these situations to go for help.

"Attempts to undermine what a victim says are very common, but the victim is never to blame. The perpetrator and society at large tend to blame the victim.

"Every woman who comes forward with a story must be believed. Coming forward is a very difficult thing to do. Nobody does it lightly."

In her video, Emma makes an appeal to women in similar circumstances.

"If anyone out there has gone through something similar to what I've gone through, you need to find the courage and get away from anything that's an unhealthy as violence.

"Go to your friends and family, people who love you and care about you."

The young mother, whose children, a boy and a girl, are both under the age of three, says: "I finally realised that no, this is not acceptable."

"No man has the right to put his hand on a woman. No matter how big, how small, no matter where you're from."

"It is not right to raise a hand to a woman and it's only now that I've realised that."

The Women's Aid freephone helpline is 1800 341900.

Irish Independent

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