To Report or Not Report Historical Child Sexual Abuse


Two weeks ago I was given the name of a Garda (Irish for Policeman) Detective Sergeant for Child Sexual Assault in Dublin who investigates historical abuses cases. It was given to me by a brave Irish woman Cynthia Owen who has come forward about her own abuse and pursued her case.

It has plunged me into a fierce dilemma. Do I come forward now I have a contact or not? It would mean telling my brothers and sisters who up until now I have managed to protect. They know nothing of my abuse. My parents were the orchestrators of the paedophile ring that abused me for fourteen years. My mother “got rid of” the three babies I gave birth to in my early teens. My siblings are significantly older than me and were not living at home when I was growing up so were unaware of the abuse and I was sworn to secrecy and to this day I have never told them as they were so close to my parents. What right have I to break that bond.

To come forward means shattering the impression my siblings have of my parents and I do not think they will believe me. I am terrified of that. Petrified of loosing them. It’s a big risk to take. When they came home on visits everything appeared normal. They came home once a year at the most so it was easy to create an illusion of normalcy. I was well groomed and prepared. I knew no different so it did not occur to me to tell anyone of what was happening to me anyway. I just accepted it as “my normal” as “my life”.

However, I feel I have a duty to come forward and give evidence and bring the case to light for the sake of the other children who were abused. Someone has to be their voice. Speak up for their rights. They were taken from the local Industrial School and horribly sexually and physically abused. Some were murdered for sexual pleasure right in front of my very eyes. Smothered with a pillow right after being sexually abused. I have to come forward for them. Bear witness for them.

Except it has plunged me into suicidality as I feel I will not be able to fight the judicial system.  The policeman explained in detail what was required and I do not know that I have it in me. That I am strong enough to stand up to the prosecution is the big question. I suffer from Complex PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder. Flashbacks occur daily and my alters switch at will. I seriously doubt I will be seen as a credible witness or wonder if I will stand up under the pressure of court questioning.


Should I let any of this stop me. I think the answer is no. I have to go ahead. If I crumble in a heap so be it. I will have tried. That’s the best I can do. It’s going to be a long arduous process and it will take a couple of years probably by the time evidence is gathered. The policeman warned me of this. He said stamina and patience is required. I have to do it. The children deserve it.


  1. I think you are so very brave to consider coming forward. The abuse you suffered was so horrific, but you highlighted such a valid point… you know you were not alone. If you can do this, it would be so loving for your to do it. Loving on behalf of all the other victims that may never have the courage to have their voice heard. I often regret that I never did anything, I worry every day that HE had access to other children, and that by not coming forward, he has likely abused others too.


  2. It must be so very hard for you to go forward with this… and so very brave of you… but you know… the very thought of ‘other children’ may just become the greatest driving force for you to keep going on this path… at times it is so very hard to take such difficult decisions… but for the sake of truth… and for the sake of others who have suffered… we must step out of the immense fear of what we may lose… and resolve to go forward no matter what… may the power of ‘Good’ be with you… believe me I know how it feels at times like these…


    • Thank you for your words of encouragement and taking the trouble to comment. I really appreciate it. It’s a difficult decision. One fraught with many road blocks. I have a lot of support with a terrific family so I am very lucky. Again thanks. All the best for the future. Erin


  3. It’s not always about speaking out for others or others believing you but sometimes it’s about not remaining in that silence which is a control that was put on you by your abusers. When I wrote about my abuse on my blog I felt so much better I wish I did It years ago. I left alot of details out but spoke up about each main abuse. I now don’t feel I have some dirty little secret anymore which made me realise. Remaining silent was that last little bit of control my mother had in the case. I haven’t chased the legal side down but that’s for other reasons. You may be the voice that brings others forward you may not but ultimately it’s about you.


    • Thanks for taking the trouble to comment and for your words of encouragment. I really appreciate it. It’s a very difficult choice and receiving emails like yours really helps. Thank you. All the best Erin.


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