Thursday 24 May 2018

Woman left 'frozen in fear' by three-hour sex attack

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Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A woman feared for her life while she was being sexually assaulted by a stranger during a three-hour ordeal on a bus.

The woman, who wants to remain anonymous, was travelling from Dublin to Cork when the attack occurred. She has spoken out about the incident now because she feels "the justice system fails women".

"I was coming home after a late-night flight and I got on the bus at Dublin Airport to go home to Cork," she said.

"I'm a nervous flyer so I had taken a Xanax pill to help my flight anxiety. I sat down near the back of the bus and a man came and sat beside me. We were talking for about half-an-hour before I told him I had taken a pill and I was going to go to sleep for the journey.

"I put my head against the window and tried to sleep but all of a sudden the man began to touch me. He sexually assaulted me for the rest of the three-hour trip to Cork."

During the attack she was "frozen in fear".

"I know now I should have screamed or called out for help but he had me boxed into the window and he was fidgeting with something in his bag so I was afraid he was going to hurt me."

She blamed herself after the incident. "It was very bad. When we arrived in Cork and the lights came on in the bus, he stopped. He said: ''That's what happens when you take tablets."

"Other women may not report such crimes because they reacted like I did. They may think that because they never fought back, they allowed the sexual attack to happen. My own relatives questioned it and that made me feel even worse.

"I got off the bus and ran to my husband and I told him what happened in the car. I was so upset and we decided to go to gardaí."

The woman said that while gardaí were helpful, she felt like she was being treated "no different to the criminals".

"I was interviewed in the same rooms where they interview criminals. There should be a room for victims that is more comfortable and brighter, like in hospitals where they have family rooms.

"When I saw him in court I was terrified and began to have a panic attack. I burst into tears when I saw him."

Her attacker was convicted and fined but the woman feels she did not get justice.

"This was about justice and protecting other women and I don't think that was achieved. There was no justice for me or for other women.

"I'll never forget that frightening assault. I feel the justice system fails women."

  • The Rape Crisis Centre can be contacted on 1800 77 8888

Irish Independent

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