Brave Niamh Ni Dhomhnail - who criticised ex's suspended sentence for raping her - makes first public appearance on Ray D'Arcy Show
Published 03/10/2015 | 22:42
A woman who spoke out after her former partner received a suspended sentence for raping while she slept has made her first public appearance on RTE One's Ray D'Arcy Show tonight.
Teacher Niamh Ni Dhomhnail was praised for speaking out against the suspended sentence imposed on her former boyfriend, Norwegian national Meyer Hustveit, in July.
Ms Ni Dhomhnail's criticism of the sentence featured in a number of print, online and radio outlets.
However, her appearance on Ray D'Arcy's programme this evening marked her first public appearance. Previously, she had given several interviews to the broadcaster on his RTE Radio One programme.
Her interview with Ray was pre-recorded and broadcast this evening.
Ms Ni Dhomhnaill has recently joined the Ask Consent campaign, along with Tom Meagher, the husband of the late Jill Meagher who was raped and murdered by Adrian Bayley as she walked home in Melbourne in 2013.
Niamh told Ray that she is a changed person since the attacks.
She said prior to the incidents, she was a "relatively outgoing" young woman.
"I suppose I would have been first on the dance floor quite a bit and just enjoyed being silly really with my friends. I enjoyed going for walks with my mom, with my dog....I enjoyed teaching a lot and I enjoyed working with young people.
"I had a lot of ambitions and always had a lot of drive and realistically I don’t think that those things have changed a whole lot. I think that they’ve been altered.
"I think that the focus of a lot of things has been changed but I don’t see that necessarily as a negative," she said.
She told Ray she was striving to find a way in getting something positive from the experience.
"I think that it’s obviously changed a lot of things but you make a decision on how it changes you and how it defines you and for me I can’t be who I was before that but I nearly don’t want to be now.
"And I’d like to find that I’ll have focus and that some of that focus will come from the experiences that I’ve had. My hope for the future would be that it helps, that I find a way to make this positive, to make constructive change."
Ray asked her if she hoped her appearance on television would help others.
“I hope so. I hope that it helps anyone who feels in any way that it resonates for them.
"I suppose there’s the hope that you don’t always preach to the converted. You want to hopefully reach people who are cynical about these things or who don’t know what to think about it so I suppose if I had one hope it would certainly be that.”
Talking about the Ask Consent campaign, Niamh said it was aimed at men and women.
“I do think that sometimes [with] a lot of the rhetoric around this, I think men tend to feel a bit demonised. I think it’s an important addition in this campaign that there is the addition of ‘Did you ask him?’
"And again I think that it is an issue within domestic violence, domestic abuse, sexual violence, that it’s far too often regarded as a male on female action, which it’s absolutely not...The majority are but that doesn’t negate that there are male victims.”
Meyer Hustveit walked free from the Central Criminal Court in July after receiving a seven-year suspended sentence.
The Norwegian man, previously of Leo Street, North Circular Road, Dublin, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to one count of rape, and one count of sexual assault, between 2011 and 2012.
Ms Ni Dhomhnail spoke out after the sentence.
She told Newstalk's Chris Donoghue that teh sentence sent out "the wrong message" to victims of rape and sexual violence.
“I think it sends such a clear message to Irish society that rape and sexual violence is not being taken seriously enough,” she told Newstalk Breakfast’s Chris Donoghue today.
“I’m still very shocked at the ruling. It’s a lot to take in. For me, and I think this is due to the people who support me, the judge took his time in making the ruling. He seemed to be cognisant of the fact that what he did was quite serious.
“He acknowledged in principle the severity of Magnus’s actions, but in reality that acknowledgement seemed to mean nothing with a fully suspended sentence.”
“I’m left reeling, and my parents are too, and all my friends who were there to support me.”
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) have since told Ms Ni Dhomhnaill of their intention to appeal the sentence.
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