Sunday 20 January 2019

Final Results

Repeal the Eighth Amendment?

Yes 66.40% 1,429,981

No 33.60% 723,632

  • Constituencies declared: 40/40

Referendum Hub

Asking victims to prove rape is one more layer of trauma, says survivor

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Shona Murray

Forcing rape victims to prove they have been violated in order to obtain an abortion from the State would be an extra layer of trauma, according to survivor Niamh Ní Dhomhnaill.

In 2015, Ms Ní Dhomhnaill was at the centre of a sleep rape case when her former partner Magnus Meyer Hustveit pleaded guilty to one count of rape and one count of sexual assault committed against her between 2011 and 2012.

Today, Ms Ní Dhomhnaill will launch the policy paper for the pro-repeal group Together for Yes.

The paper is directed at the forthcoming referendum, and will declare that removing the prohibition of abortion will be an important part of the health services for women who have been raped.

It will support the Government's proposed legislation that abortion is to be regulated by healthcare professionals and will be accessible without restriction up to 12 weeks gestation.

The Government decision follows on from expert testimony given before the Oireachtas committee.

The view of the clinicians is that it would be re-traumatising for a woman to have to prove she was raped in order to end the pregnancy which was a result of the assault.

The paper will also say such requirement to disclose what a rape victim has experienced in order to access abortion at such a particularly vulnerable time "may prevent her from seeking care at all".

"The first thing I said to my rapist was 'what if I'm pregnant'. I would have had to disclose too much than I was ready for at that stage," Ms Ní Dhomhnaill said.

"I was thinking that would potentially be a pregnancy out of rape and I remember distinctly feeling absolute fear.

"You've got so much shame, confusion, hurt, you've got so many issues with consent and there's such fear around seeking help."

Irish Independent

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