Survivor shares story of sexual assault in defence forces on Claire Byrne 9 months ago

Survivor shares story of sexual assault in defence forces on Claire Byrne

Katie Hannon joined Claire to tell the victim's harrowing story.

The airing of an RTE Radio 1 documentary titled Women of Honour earlier this month uncovered three decades of alleged sexual assault and discrimination in the Irish army and navy.

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Listeners were left outraged as the documentary, broadcast by Katie Hannon, shared several women's experiences of bullying, misogyny, and violence.

Following the broadcast, another woman came forward and told her story on Claire Byrne Live. As the victim preferred to remain anonymous, an actress read her horrifying story.

Katie Hannon appeared on the show, giving a short summary of what happened to the victim.

“She was a junior commissioned officer, she was working and living in a particular barracks, at the time when this happened she was just 21, and on this night there was a formal function, a military ball being held in the officers mezz that she was living in and she attended this with her boyfriend and her American friend.”

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The actress then went into more detail about the night revealing that the woman had been raped by another officer. She woke up in the middle of the night with the man on top of her before she fully came around.

It was then revealed that the senior authorities, who she went to to report the incident, let the man in question cross-examine her statement. She expressed her humiliation at the kinds of questions he was allowed to ask her – such as questioning the number of drinks she had that night and the reason why her door was unlocked.

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Claire Byrne viewers were shocked by the woman’s story and took to social media to express their anger.

“The most disgusting thing about our legal system, civil or military, is that victims of rape are the ones on trial, and not the rapist. Was any rapist ever asked if he wore briefs or boxers?” one user wrote.

"'Why wasn’t your door locked?' As if an open door is an allowance for rape, madness," another added.

Another user commented on the victim’s choice to remain anonymous:

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“When women go public with their rape case the vile abuse they get on social media is atrocious so of course this woman wanted to remain anonymous. The state owes a duty to these warrior women.”

Minister for Defence Simon Coveney has said he will set up an independent external review into concerns raised by the Women of Honour group.