News Irish News

Tuesday 23 October 2018

'The guard kept asking if I was leading him on... until I said I'm gay' - rape survivor Dominique Meehan

Dominique Meehan waived her right to anonymity
Dominique Meehan waived her right to anonymity

Conor McCrave

Dominique Meehan has said a guard wouldn't stop questioning her as to whether she led her rapist on until she revealed she's lesbian.

One year on from waiving her right to anonymity and speaking about being raped, she is now speaking out about her concern for women at the centre of rape trials.

Dominique, who is an advocate for survivors of rape, said too much focus is put on the victim’s innocence, rather than the assailant’s.

Even today, people continue to ask her if she 'did anything' that could have led to her rape.

"I remember the night that I was attacked, after it happened and I was with a guard.

"The guard was asking me 'did you do anything to lead him on' and said 'can you prove that you didn’t?'"

"It wasn’t until I said I’m gay that it was said 'OK'", she told Independent.ie.

She reveals even a year after a court found her rapist guilty, she still gets questioned about his innocence or if she had a role in his crime.

“If I have to tell someone new, I will get the questions like did I say anything to him or did I do anything, was I drunk or wearing anything weird,” she said.

"It’s like people are looking for gossip and I think it’s just this rape culture that brings it on."

Keith Hearne was sentenced to 12 years in prison last June, after pleading guilty to raping the young girl during the ArcadeCon Convention at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blanchardstown.

She waived her right to anonymity in a bid to encourage more victims to speak out.

She said the stigma of what people might say causes a lot of victims to stay silent, admitting that if it wasn’t for her friend telling her to call the police immediately after interrupting the assault she would have stayed silent.

“If I hadn’t been told to ring the guards then, I wouldn’t have gone to the guards,” she said.

Today she is often asked to retrace her steps of that day in the convention centre, which she says is like being blamed all over again.

She reveals that while being assaulted she had typed ‘SOS screening room’ into her phone, but didn’t press send.

"I rarely tell people about that text," she says, because of the blame that is put back on her for not sending it.

When Dominique was applying to get into college and seeking help with her application, she met with an access officer.

During the interview, she was asked if she was drunk at the time as well as being asked to explain if she had any role in causing the attack.

"I just answered and said that I hadn’t a drink on me.

"It didn’t occur to me at the time and it never does until later, that I shouldn’t have been asked that question," she said.

She said the question always returns to how she conducted herself and never on how her attacker conducted himself.

"It’s sort of expected that people will blame you," she said adding, "they never ask about him it’s always about me. Even now after sentencing they always say well what happened."

"I usually get texts from people saying the same thing happened to me," she said.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article please contact the Irish Rape Crisis Centre’s 24 hour helpline on 1800 778888 or visit www.rapecrisishelp.ie

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News