Friday 15 December 2017

'I thought am I driving off a cliff here?' - Norah Casey and Mary Coughlan praised for 'honesty' and 'bravery' by Cutting Edge viewers

Both women spoke about being abused

Norah Casey, Brendan O'Connor, Mary Coughlan, Frankie Gaffney on RTE's Cutting Edge
Norah Casey, Brendan O'Connor, Mary Coughlan, Frankie Gaffney on RTE's Cutting Edge
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Mary Coughlan and Norah Casey have been praised for their 'heartfelt, brave, and honest' accounts of the abuse they have both experienced.

The women appeared on the panel of RTE show Cutting Edge on Wednesday night with host Brendan O'Connor and Frankie Gaffney.

Singer Mary Coughlan revealed she had received 400-500 pieces of hate mail since she walked out of Ivan Yates' show on Newstalk in protest at Newstalk presenter George Hook's comments about rape.

She also spoke about the abuse she suffered as a child and how it affected her.

"I carried shame with me all my life," she said. "Even when I was 7, I remember making my Holy Communion and I felt dirty and ashamed. And I remember being in a bath the night before my holy communion and I was deliberately trying to hurt myself to get out of going. People were telling me 'you should be ashamed of yourself for the stuff that you did'...I felt ashamed and I didn't even know why."

Norah Casey also shared her story of abuse, giving a searingly honest account of how she finally plucked up the courage to leave an abusive partner.

"I got up at 4 o'clock, packed a small bag, we were in a beautiful house, and I woke him up and said, 'I'm leaving you' and he started to laugh, 'Come on, you're joking.'  I said, 'I've had enough'." she revealed.

"I'd tried to leave him so many times. He'd throw my clothes out the window, he did all sorts of things.  He turned over and went back to sleep and I drove away in the car and I thought, 'Am I going to drive off a cliff here?  What am I doing?'"

Norah revealed that she went to work without telling anyone what had happened and then drove to Heathrow and stayed at the IBIS hotel.

"To be amongst strangers and families all going on holiday, all bonding together, and you're sitting there in a bare room listening to all the noise and clatter outside and I could have got up at any time and driven home and he'd have said, 'It was a joke this morning wasn't it?  You didn't mean that you were going to leave me?' and I had the sense to stay away.

"I like to think the lightbulb moment should have been much earlier in my life but it wasn't.  And even now people say, 'why did you stay?'.  The more important thing for me is, 'How did you leave?'  All the women who contact me and that I talk to I want to gather them in a room and say 'let's find out how we left.'"

She also spoke about how every woman has met a Harvey Weinstein.

There was huge reaction to the show on social media with both Mary and Norah praised for their bravery.  O'Connor and the show itself also received huge praise from viewers.

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