Gillian Kavanagh who has spent over 20 years living in silence has finally spoken out about being a victim of child sex-abuse in the hopes that other victims may seek help.
“I want to let people know that there is light at the end of tunnel and that you can survive it," Ms Kavanagh said.
The 30-year-old harnessed the strength to speak out after reading about the abuse of two young children at the hands of one of her neighbors.
Michael Butler of Maudin Street, Kilkenny was recently convicted of abusing two children in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Ms Kavanagh herself was assaulted by a teenage boy when she was just nine years old and struggled for decads to come to terms with the ordeal.
“Most of the pictures I had of myself as a kid I threw out. I'm always at the back and I'm always wearing boy's clothes. It was a very frightening ordeal, the gardai and the social workers coming to the door," she told the Irish Independent.
"I wouldn't ask if I could go to the toilet, I used to wet myself a lot because I was too scared to ask."
Ms Kavanagh feels her teenage years were taken from her as a result of the attack.
The only man's hand I've ever held walking the streets of Kilkenny was my father's.
"My poor dad died fairly young, it was hard on him -- he never saw me in a dress and he always saw me unhappy," she added.
She decided to tell her story in the hope that it would encourage others to speak out.
"I am ready to talk about it if it gives one man or woman in this country a chance to step forward to the gardai or their local rape crisis centre," she said.
Moving to Ireland
After living in Ireland for almost one year, this is what I’ve learned