Thursday 14 December 2017

Sisters recount rape by predatory father

Revisiting a fraught and abuse-filled childhood is a brave and honourable move, writes Moya Doherty

The year was 1992: long before Facebook, before Twitter, before divorce, before the Ryan Report, before the boom, before the bust. The country was slowly taking shape, covering up the cracks of the Eighties' recession with a sense that something fresh was faintly visible on the horizon, something that would allow us all to be a little more carefree, a little more hopeful.

That same year, three sisters from Ballyfermot, Dublin, were slowly and carefully starting to chisel out the hidden shape of their hearts from the cold stone of their childhood. A sculpture through which they tirelessly worked to reclaim themselves.

Joyce, June and Paula Kavanagh were born into a large working-class family in Ballyfermot in the mid-to-late Fifties. At a glance all seemed well, their mother and father worked hard to provide for their offspring. Home was a rambling, labyrinthine house on a main road in the area. They ran a sweetshop and were better off than most of their neighbours.

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