A woman raped by her soldier father when she was a child has spoken of her great faith and trust in God who gives her daily strength.
Retired soldier Jerry O’Keeffe, 69, of Youghal, Co. Cork, was jailed for 10 years this week for rapes on daughter Amy Barrett which started when she was eight, and for sexual abuse of her younger sister Melissa O’Keeffe which started when she was 11.
Barrett, now a mother of five, told Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radio after the case, of a number of attempts by the sisters to reveal their abuse before they finally made a full report to gardai in 2014 because they were worried their father would abuse another child victim.
“My dad was living with another woman and there was a little girl in that house,” she said.
The sisters waived their right to anonymity to encourage other victims of abuse to come forward.
“We wanted to get it out there, to help other people out there -- there are too many victims out there, there’s too much silence around abuse. People don’t talk enough about abuse. I think there’s a lot more going on than we realize,” Barrett said.
Former soldier O’Keeffe pleaded guilty at Dublin Central Criminal Court to three charges of rape, five of indecent assault and one of sexual assault covering a period from January 1980 to March 1987.
The court heard that the abuses against Barrett lasted for five years and against her sister for six years when they were children.
Justice Patrick McCarthy said O’Keeffe’s crimes brought about the destruction of his daughters’ childhoods.
He said, “It is hard to find words to describe each new outrage inflicted on these children.”