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Monday 20 May 2019

More than 30 victims of rape gave birth

Allison Bray

MORE than 30 women who were raped last year went on to give birth as a result of their attack, shocking new figures from the Rape Crisis Network Ireland reveal.

In all, 47 women who were raped or disclosed a previous rape in 2006 became pregnant as a result -- including a third of all rape victims who were raped by a close family member.

Nine of the rape victims who consequently became pregnant were under 18 at the time of their attack.

Two thirds or 31 of the pregnant rape victims carried their babies to term and chose to raise them, whilst 19pc of rape victims had a miscarriage and another 9pc terminated their pregnancies.

Only 6pc of rape victims who went on to give birth opted for adoption, according to the RCNI's 2006 statistics, which included figures on pregnancy rates amongst rape victims for the first time in its annual report released yesterday.

Despite the trauma of the rape itself and the ensuing stress of both carrying and giving birth to a child of rape, the women who carried through with such pregnancies should be applauded for their strength and not be burdened by shame, according to RCNI spokeswoman Cliona Saidlear.

"I think it's a startling number but what it indicates is an incredible show of strength. It's a huge life decision, especially in the aftermath of a rape," she told the Irish Independent yesterday.

"To me, it speaks of incredible power."

Shame

However, despite recent improvements in the reporting of rape by younger victims, a conspiracy of silence and shame still surrounds the disclosure of rape, especially when it occurs within the family which is more common than society would like to admit, said RCNI executive director Fiona Neary.

In a third of all adult and child rape cases reported to the network last year, the rapist was a close famile member. Tragically, those sexually abused within the family as a child are more likely to become repeatedly victimised again outside the family when adults, with one in ten childhood victims of incest experiencing rape or sexual assault again as adults.

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