Thursday 8 December 2016

Sleep rape victim Niamh Ní Dhomhnaill: ‘I don’t believe he would have stopped with just me’

Published 24/03/2016 | 10:41

Niamh Ní Domhnaill, who waived her right to anonymity, leaving court yesterday. Pic: Courtpix
Niamh Ní Domhnaill, who waived her right to anonymity, leaving court yesterday. Pic: Courtpix
Magnus Meyer Hustveit arrives at the Court of Appeal in Dublin. Photo: Collins

The woman at the centre of the sleep rape case has said she believes her attacker would have assaulted other women if he had gotten away with his crime.

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Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Niamh Ní Dhomhnaill said that she was “relieved that her ordeal” in front of the courts was over but she “didn’t regret” going public.

BRAVE: Rape victim Niamh Ni Dhomhnall spoke about her ordeal on the Ray D’Arch show last night
BRAVE: Rape victim Niamh Ni Dhomhnall spoke about her ordeal on the Ray D’Arch show last night

“I don’t think abusers stop at just one victim. Even if I am not happy with the sentence handed down, I hope he knows he can’t get away with this behaviour again. I don’t believe he would have stopped with just me.”

Two weeks ago, Magnus Meyer Hustveit (26) was re-sentenced to 15 months imprisonment following a finding by the Court of Appeal that his original term was ‘unduly lenient’.

Magnus Meyer Hustveit (26), had pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to one count of rape and one count of sexual assault committed against his 28-year-old girlfriend between 2011 and 2012.

He was given a wholly suspended seven year sentence by Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy on July 13 2015.

Much of the offending behaviour occurred without Ms Ní Dhomhnaill’s knowledge and all of the acts were only known because of detailed admissions made by Hustveit in an email he sent to the victim, following her request to find out what had happened to her.

Speaking this morning, Ms Ní Dhomhnaill said she was “satisfied that the initial ruling has been overturned”. She said the original ruling was a “dangerous one in the first place".

“I am obviously unhappy it took going public and took a lot of people getting angry for that to actually happen.

“I still don’t feel it is representative of what was taken away from me or what continues to be taken away from me. It is something, and is better than nothing, which is more than we had in the first place.”

She said it was “disappointing” that it took so long to convict Hustveit after he had admitted his crimes.

“That was what so dangerous. Rape is often so difficult to prove but we had a situation here where he was admitting it. That was a dangerous precedence to set.”

Ms Ní Dhomhnaill said that the last year had been “difficult” but she was able to deal with it, thanks to friends and family. 

“You will always have moments where you question it. Undeniably the judge and the courts’ decision to suspend the original sentence in its entity made it feel like it wasn’t such a big deal. That you weren’t really raped. Surely there can’t be that much damage if someone gets away with it.

“I’ve been very lucky there have been so many great people around me. Seeing other peoples' outrage in a sense validated what he did do was so wrong.

"Part of recovery is that you have to keep going. You have to make the time to see people, to go for a run, to have a laugh if you see something funny. You aren’t hurting less because you find something funny.”

She said she doesn’t regret her decision to go public.

“No, never. I have read horrific things about myself but I don’t regret going interviews. I can’t correct everything that is wrong that is said. I had no control over this once I waived my right to anonymity. I always had an idea that I wouldn’t go forward for myself or to shame Magnus. It was important to me that this be beneficial to the wider public. If my case has highlighted our need to talk about consent or our need to talk to about abuse in relationship, I would be very happy with that. I never had anything to be ashamed of.”

She said that while the impact had a “devastating” impact on her life, she wouldn’t allow it to take over her life.

“What I would say Magnus’ actions have left a mark on me, the past while has thought me the power of love and the power of trusting in people. I have let people into my life. In the middle of all this, I was able to start a new relationship – which is not so new now! – but you can do it. I couldn’t let the actions of one person destroy every other experience of my life from now. I made a decision that I needed to take ownership of this, of my life. It was a decision that I made and I am very glad I did.

"I didn’t want to be the type of person whose life was changed due to the actions of one other person – because I don’t think he is worth that.”

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