Saturday 16 December 2017

Victim urges women to report rapes

John Whelan

The victim of one of the most horrendous rapes in recent times has broken her silence to encourage others to come forward.

The Polish woman, who was raped by Edward Piotrowski, 45, said yesterday that she was pleased with the five life sentences handed down to the former soldier.

On November 25, 2007, she and her boyfriend were beaten, abused and threatened with their lives by Piotrowski, a former Polish soldier with an address at Clonmullen Hall, Edenderry, Co Offaly. The woman's partner was tied up and she was then raped and orally raped.

She said: "Piotrowski is in a place now where he won't see the light of day for a very long time and he deserves what he got.

"We're going to have to live with what happened for the rest of our lives, but at the end of the day we will have to get on with our lives as well.

"We have already given this two years of our lives and want to move on and be happy."

Speaking of her attacker, the victim said: "In my opinion, he's not normal, he's a psychotic person. Before the evidence, I hoped he'd plead guilty and spare me going though it but he didn't.

"I don't believe he's sick or has an illness, he's just a bad person and deserves what he got."

While her attacker was awaiting trial, the woman's family back in Poland had been subjected to death threats. However, the woman was reassured by the protection and security afforded her by the gardai.

"The gardai were brilliant all the time," she said. "I was working with one female sergeant and she's the most amazing woman I have ever met in my life. She is so confident and she gave me the confidence to go ahead and was always there for me.

"I had no fears he would be cleared when I saw all the work on the case by the guards and their efforts, I had confidence in the justice system.

"You have to believe in the system and tell the truth. You're going to get justice once you tell the truth.

"I would encourage other women to come forward and fight for justice, it's hard work but there is justice in the end.

"At the end of the day, we would not get justice without the gardai and the courts.

"The court experience is not simple there is no point in saying it is, your private life is delved into, but if you want justice you must take the stand. It is difficult but I would recommend to anyone else to go ahead as there is no point in sitting back and taking it.

"I would say to other rape victims there is great support available, there is help available, don't suffer in silence.

"I know that so many women are afraid and don't come forward and that was also my first instinct. It's your body, so private and personal but I believe all women should come forward.

"There was intimidation of my family in Poland and he said to me that he would kill me or get someone else to and I felt he is going to do it one day, so you are unsure should you go for it or not.

"When my family was threatened, I did have doubts as someone you love's life is at risk and I felt I wanted to give up at that time.

"But the gardai told me that I was able for it and gave me the confidence. Tell the truth and you will be fine, he has to pay for what he has done to me."

The woman has no intentions of returning to live in Poland.

"Ireland is my home now," she smiles. "My boyfriend is Irish and all his family are so nice to me."

She added: "When something like this happens you realise that the people really love you. There really is great support here."

Sunday Independent

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