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There are dozens more like me out there, says IRA rape victim

IRA rape victim Mairia Cahill said she believes there are at least 60 other paramilitary sex abuse victims - many of whom have discussed with her the prospect of waiving their anonymity.

Ms Cahill has been in regular contact with the other victims who are considering whether to go public with their ordeals.

It is understood that a female victim who claims to have been raped and subjected to a 'kangaroo court'-style interrogation is considering whether to go public in the coming days.

Ms Cahill said she has personally advised IRA abuse victims not to go public due to the abuse she received online.

"I would never wish my treatment on anybody.

"I would never push or assert that anybody would waive their anonymity or do it through the media," Ms Cahill told an Irish radio show.

Ms Cahill, from west Belfast, was raped by a suspected senior IRA figure when she was 16.

The latest victim to speak publicly, Paudie McGahon, said that Ms Cahill's decision to waive her anonymity inspired him to also do so.

Asked whether she believes Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams could determine the whereabouts of Mr McGahon's abuser, Ms Cahill replied: "Absolutely. In a heartbeat. In the click of a finger."

Ms Cahill said she estimates there are about 40 abusers still at large and at least 60 victims.

Meanwhile, a woman's aid group has claimed that the controversial 'kangaroo courts' are still being used to deal with allegations of sexual violence in Northern Ireland.

Marie Brown, director of Foyle Women's Aid in Derry, expressed deep concern about the impact such interrogations have on victims.

She said there was an issue of individuals getting involved in "domestic and sexual violence in communities" and that this must be addressed.

"I do still think there is an active part of getting involved in domestic and sexual violence in communities in the north.

"I don't know what's going on in the south, but I can say it's wrong and it's not in the interest of any victim for that to happen.

"They should have proper services and be able to come forward to people services," Ms Brown said. Acting director of the Rape Crisis Network, Cliona Saidlear, said elements of the Paudie McGahon case were disturbing, particularly the allegation that the victim was subjected to a kangaroo court.

"It's important to examine how this impacted on the survivor."

She added: "Was it something the survivor needed?

"Was it supportive? Did he request it?

"The answer to all those questions is 'no'," she said.

If you have been affected by any of the issues, Foyle Women's Aid is available on 028 7141 6800. The Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre in Belfast is at 028 9032 9002.

Last year Belfast woman Mairia Cahill claimed she was attacked as a teenager in 1997 by a well-known IRA member. She said that paramilitaries conducted their own inquiry into her account, subjecting her to interrogation and forcing her to confront her alleged attacker.

The man who she accused of rape was cleared in court after Ms Cahill withdrew her evidence and charges were dropped against those allegedly involved in the IRA's internal investigation.

Belfast Telegraph