THE Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan has been praised by a rape crisis support group for her "tremendous courage" in speaking out about the childhood sexual abuse she suffered.
Mother-of-three O'Riordan revealed the molestation took place for four years, between the age of eight and 12, and that her abuser was in a position of trust in her home county of Limerick.
The 42-year-old musician said that it took years of counselling to recover.
"It is something that I carried forever," O'Riordan said. "There is a great sense of a great burden off my shoulders. I feel it is going to help me by opening up and just confessing to all of those people who bought my albums and that love me."
Ellen O'Malley-Dunlop, CEO of the Rape Crisis Centre, told the Irish Independent that O'Riordan's admission would inspire countless victims to seek help around the country.
"I think she's shown tremendous courage and great generosity in speaking out, because when people like her talk about the terrible trauma inflicted upon them, it encourages others to come forward," Ms O'Malley-Dunlop said.
"It is one of the most horrific crimes in our society and all the things Dolores said – like feeling ashamed, the aftermath of the trauma on her life, the lack of self-worth, the anorexia and the suicidal thoughts – they are all common feelings.
"They are feelings that people have who have not been able to talk about the awful experiences they endured and it is never, ever the victim's fault, particularly a child victim who is groomed."
O'Riordan has said her husband Don Burton and their children – son Taylor, and daughters Mollie and Dakota – had helped her come to terms with her past.
"I am just trying to live for my kids. It is all about my kids now. I love them endlessly," she said in an interview in The 'Sunday Independent's LIFE magazine.
"The kids were actually completely elemental in my healing process."
Ms O'Malley-Dunlop said well-known figures opening up about their abuse struck a particular chord with the public.
The Rape Crisis Centre has seen its government funding cut by a third, despite an increase in need for the organisation's services. The Coronas' frontman Danny O'Reilly and singer Mundy have released a song, entitled 'Turn Off the Silence', to help promote the centre's campaign.
For support and information related to rape and sexual violence, call the Rape Crisis Centre's 24-hour helpline 1 800 778 888.