On the 5th of March, 2017 at 8.56 am an email arrived in my Inbox that stopped me dead in my tracks. That’s the problem with email they can totally shatter you unexpectedly out of the blue when you least expect it. Without any warning, your day can be turned upside down.
The email said: “I’m from Dalkey Co Dublin and if you Google my name Cynthia Owen Dalkey House of Horrors you will see my story just wondering if our stories could be connected I was abused by a ring of 13 men”.
I was flabbergasted to receive such correspondence. A story just like my own and from my birth country. I googled the story and it was horrific. Cynthia Owen was frightfully abused by her mother and a paedophile ring. Had a baby when she was eleven whom her mother murdered with a knitting needle and dragged Cynthia down a back alley to dispose of the body. The house she was kept and abused in became known as the Dalkey House of Horrors. You can read about it here.
What is outstanding about Cynthia’s story is her bravery about coming forward and exposing her abusers particularly the Gardai (Police). That takes untold guts and gumption and I applaud her. Not many can come forward.
I have not been able to.
Up to five years ago I was in suppression and had repressed all memories of my abuse, the three babies I had taken from me, the memories of the other children I saw abused. It was not until the Australian 2012 Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse and I started hearing the testimony of the witnesses that it all came flooding back. I had a breakdown and was diagnosed with Complex PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder. I have struggled with self-harm and suicide attempts and have been medically retired from my work. All this has made it impossible to find the strength to be able to pursue a case against my perpetrators.
Also I am riddled with guilt. The grooming techniques used were expert and still work on me today. I am damaged goods and struggle with survivor guilt as to why I survived and so many did not. I am in therapy under the guidance of an excellent psychotherapist using EMDR. We are making progress but it’s slow. I am very lucky to be in a very good marriage with a very supportive husband and fantastic children without whom I would not be alive today.
But Cynthia’s email has changed everything. We have exchanged correspondence and she has provided me with the name of a Policeman who specialises in dealing with cases such as ours. Her case inspires me. She has planted a seed in me that perhaps I could come forward now. The unthinkable is now possible thanks to her actions. If she could do that maybe I can too. Many of the perpetrators are dead but many are still alive and have never been brought to justice for what they did. Maybe they never will but I can try.
Thank you for your email Cynthia.