Saturday 23 September 2017

'My father raped me for years, but I wanted to visit him in prison'

Fiona Doyle tells how she phoned his jail before 'backing off'

SURVIVOR: Grainne Seoige and award winner Fiona Doyle. Photo: Gerry Mooney
SURVIVOR: Grainne Seoige and award winner Fiona Doyle. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Joyce Fegan

Joyce Fegan

RAPE victim Fiona Doyle describes how she nearly visited her rapist father in prison.

Patrick O'Brien, who abused his daughter Fiona over a 10-year period, was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment last January.

Fiona, who won a People of the Year Award last night, revealed: "I even rang the prison one time."

Fiona investigated whether or not counselling was compulsory in prison and enquired if her father had availed of the service.

She said that if he had then "maybe one day he'd realise what he'd done to me".

Fiona spoke to his prison warden with the view of having a meeting and then arranging a visit with her father. But when she found out that counselling was not obligatory she "backed off."

Fiona said: "I was going to go and see him but then I said forget it, just leave it.

"Why are you setting yourself up for a fall again?"

The abuse survivor, whose book, Too Many Tears is published tomorrow by Penguin, has not had any contact with her mother since her father's sentencing.

In April, when she heard that her mother was having heart surgery, she "panicked" over whether she should visit her in hospital. She decided against it. Fiona described the abuse she received from her father as being both "mentally and physically invasive".

Fiona has two grandchildren but has never had any contact with them – and last week she described how she walked past them in Bray without saying hello.

Her major wish for the book was that her grandchildren would one day read it.

While she "doesn't feel sorry" for her mother, Fiona said she still loves her but doubts that she will see her parents again.

She had told the media that she initially felt "guilt" when her father was sentenced and that she would have to live with the fact that she "put him there". But now Fiona said she feels that "he deserves to be where he is" and hopes that her bravery will inspire other abuse victims to "seek justice".

Fiona, who is both excited and very nervous about her book's publication, admitted that she fears "there will be a big fall out from it".

Broadcaster Grainne Seoige told the Sunday Independent that Fiona was "an amazing lady."

Seoige believes that Fiona "shows how this country is changing in a positive way".

She added: "I think we're leaving aside the old shame that we had where people were taught not to speak out and to take it and move on and that creates big problems for people going forward."

Speaking of her Fiona vowed "not to shut up".

"I have my voice now and I'm going to keep going on about the justice system," she added.

Sunday Independent

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