Sexual abuse

Rape Crisis Network Ireland : Tusla funding cuts reinforce the culture of silence

Ingrid Wallace is a senior therapist at Rape Crisis Midwest.


It’s so easy to silence a child.

If you tell, I’ll kill your cat.  I’ll kill your dog.  I’ll kill your rabbit.

If you tell, no one will believe you.

If you tell, I’ll hurt you really badly.

If you tell, I’ll be taken away and everyone will blame you.

If you DON’T tell, I’ll give you sweets. Cigarettes. Money.

This is our special secret.

Survivors of child sexual abuse learn early to keep their mouths shut and Tusla’s decision to withdraw funding from the Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) reinforces that message of silence and secrecy.

rape crisis network ireland silence

As a therapist in a Rape Crisis Centre for over twenty five years I also know that for every single person who comes through our doors there are at least four others who will never engage with any service.

They are the invisible survivors. The men and women who are silent, and silenced, about their experiences of rape and sexual abuse.

The RCNI is the representative body for Rape Crisis Centres in Ireland. An organisation of thirty years’ standing, it has amassed priceless data and expertise in the area of sexual violence. It has brought the collective voice of sexual violence survivors to every possible forum and demanded accountability on their behalf. It has tirelessly campaigned for legislative change, social change, adequate funding for Rape Crisis Centres and it has influenced national policy.

In short, the RCNI is a strong, political voice for survivors.

Perhaps that’s why it too is being silenced.


Gail O’Rorke case shows flaws of Irish criminal justice system

The system didn’t decide to prosecute Gail O’Rorke for attempting to assist with a suicide, but it did put her through hell for the crime of being a loyal friend.  One or more individuals chose to prosecute, for reasons that are hard to understand since, prima facie,  it was far from obvious that Gail O’Rorke might be guilty of anything at all, and that’s the way the court saw it in the end, finally acquitting her of all charges.

We needn’t have any illusions about what this woman has endured in the name of justice.  Gail O’Rorke has been through horror at the hands of the Irish justice system, a system that doesn’t make decisions but does inflict misery.

So much for that.

But will the Irish justice system pay Gail O’Rorke’s defence costs?

No it will not.

Will it compensate her for four years stolen from her life?


Will it help her to undo the unspeakable emotional suffering she and her family endured as a result of this prosecution?

Absolutely not.

That’s the disgrace of our criminal justice system, by contrast with the civil courts.  If somebody sues you, and you win, you’ll be awarded your full costs, including any reasonable expenses such as expert witnesses.  You’ll be free to counter-sue for loss of earnings, emotional distress and a variety of other losses inflicted on you by the other side’s failed litigation.  But if the DPP prosecutes you, it doesn’t matter whether you are innocent or guilty.  You are already penalised to a ruinous degree.  Even if the State prosecutes you in a frivolous and vexatious effort to oppress you, the costs will still fall on you, and those costs can be enormous.

This is wrong and it should be rectified.

Gail O’Rorke has physically walked free from the court today, but not emotionally and perhaps not financially.  I don’t know what her circumstances are, and for all I know, she might have been awarded free legal aid.  But even if she did receive legal aid, she’ll get absolutely no help dealing with the aftermath of the trauma visited on her by the State.

Many defendants don’t qualify for aid and when such people are acquitted, they can be burdened with gigantic, unsustainable costs as well as the mental injuries inflicted by being accused of a crime they did not commit.

It isn’t right that the State should be able to impose massive penalties on innocent people.

If a prosecution fails, the State should be obliged to care for the innocent party in every way conceivable.


Graham Dwyer will soon be sentenced to life

Graham Dwyer, the murderer who killed Elaine O’Hara, is due to be sentenced next Monday.

It’s unlikely that the diminutive egotist will serve less than 20 years and he could even serve 30 years or more.  After all, Malcolm McArthur, who killed two people but didn’t inflict sadistic pain on them, served 30 years.

I mention Dwyer’s diminutive stature only because it seems to be an important thing to him, and yes, it’s true that I would like him to suffer as much as humanly possible, because I personally happen to think he’s a despicable piece of shit.

That’s only my personal opinion admittedly, but I feel confident most people will share my opinion.  A piece of shit is a piece of shit.

When Graham Dwyer was asked his height during the filling-out of a routine Garda  form, he said he was 5-foot 10 inches, when in fact he was 5’5″.

That’s very revealing since it exposes his profound insecurity about his stature.  Dwyer was prepared to challenge the completely obvious reality that he is a very small man, even though it was obvious that nobody would believe him.

Dwyer is an extremely small man.

I’ve been told by professionals that people like Graham Dwyer will obsessively read everything written about them, including obscure websites like this, and that’s why I feel driven to write this.

Graham Dwyer is a deeply-inadequate, diminutive sadist.  If it hurts him to see that pointed out in virtual print, that’s ok, as far as I’m concerned.

If it causes him suffering to be called a ridiculous little man, then my job is done here.

And he won’t be getting out before he’s 70.




The short, painful life of Garnett Spears

garnett spearsLacey Spears, an American woman who wrote a blog about motherhood, was convicted last month of murder for killing her five-year-old boy by injecting salt into his hospital drip.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably be saying What?  What exactly is that?

And yet, this is not an unusual occurrence, due to a bizarre psychiatric condition that drives people to inflict sickness on the people they care for.

Lacey Spears was addicted to the sympathy she received for the suffering of her child and had been harming him since birth to make sure that he remained unwell.  She even invented the death of the child’s fictional policeman father in a road crash when in reality the father remains alive and well.

Münchhausen Syndrome is a well-established set of behaviours by which people pretend to be unwell in order to attract sympathy.  Some would say we all do it from time to time, and maybe they’re correct, but true Münchhausen Syndrome is a severely debilitating psychological illness in which the sufferer is driven to invent bizarre and improbable stories in order to gain sympathy from health professionals.  It’s named in honour of the fictional Baron Münchhausen, purveyor of ludicrously-exaggerated tales.

A branch of Münchhausen Syndrome is the proxy variant, in which the sufferer inflicts injury on a child or other vulnerable person in their care.  Typically, the perpetrator is a parent, and the sicker the child remains, the more sympathy the parent receives.  Thus it becomes necessary to keep the child permanently sick in order to receive permanent sympathy.

That, it seems, is what was happening with Lacey Spears, though this is far from the only example of the syndrome.

The original aspect of this case is that Münchhausen Syndrome by Proxy found the internet, and in particular Facebook, where every half-witted fool is willing to respond to to every half-witted message.  Münchhausen Syndrome finally found the place it had yearned for.

Lacey Spears found Facebook and Twitter.  Lacey Spears found Blogspot.  Lacey Spears found Münchhausen heaven, but  poor little Garnett Spears found Hell.

garnett spears

Baby Garnett was born in December 2008 and spent his first year in hospital twenty-three times, while his mother sought comfort from social-media friends.

At ten weeks old he stopped breathing, due to high sodium levels, the condition that would eventually kill him.

In 2011, his mother took him from Decatur, Alabama, to Clearwater, Florida, to live with his grandmother, when she spent a good portion of her time posting on Facebook about raising a sick child whose police officer father had died in a car crash.  A lie.

The child was constantly in and out of emergency rooms in Clearwater, and a fellow parent complained that Lacey was slapping the baby as hard as possible to make him cry.

During that time, Lacey posted Facebook photos of herself with a child.  My World My Everything.  He Completes Me.  A Mother’s Love Is Unexplainable.

The child in the photos is not Garnett, but Jonathon Strain,a child she minded before her own son was born.  This woman is clearly unwell.

In 2012, Lacey Spears left Clearwater and moved to Chestnut Ridge, New York State where she joined a Steiner group, the Fellowship Community.

In January 2014, Garnett was admitted to the Westchester Medical Center with spiking sodium levels.  As he lay dying, his mother called a friend in the Steiner Fellowship Community, requesting that she dispose of  a bag that she had injected salt into.

Eventually, doctors at the hospital called the police and on the 23rd January, the little boy was declared dead.  His mother posted on Facebook  Garnett the great journeyed onward today at 10:20 a.m.

Lacey Spears received a sentence of 20 years to life for killing the child and yet, frankly, I can derive no satisfaction from it.  This is clearly a woman with a severe psychological disorder, probably learned from behaviour exhibited by adults in her early childhood.

I’m not trying to justify the murder, but I am trying to mitigate the punishment.

We recently had a murder case where the sadistic perpetrator was obviously deranged and deserved to be incarcerated for life, because he is clearly a danger to society.  Graham Dwyer is clearly a nasty piece of work who will continue to seek out victims as long as he has the physical capacity to do so.

Lacey Spears, on the other hand, is a person suffering from an extremely distorted understanding of the world, who has now lost everything.  Is there any point in punishing such people?

How does it benefit society?

I don’t know.



Hatton Garden Diamond Raid

You gotta love London villains, don’t ya?

Just when we was thinking it was the end of proper bad lads, here they go and blag a couple of hundred thousand nicker worth of tomfoolery from Hatton Garden.

You wot, mate?

Yeh.  That’s right.  Two, maybe three hundred thousand nicker in one massive facking blag, innit?

hatton garden jewellery robbery

It’s not like Ronnie Biggs bashing that poor engine driver over the head.  It ain’t like the time they tried to shoot Jack the hat McVitie and ended up stabbing the poor bastard.  Wrapping him up in a carpet, innit?

No-one got hurt this time, and that’s how it ought to be, if you happen to be a proper old-fashioned London criminal.

In.  Out.

Where’s the fackin diamonds?  Thank you very much.  Wham, bam, thank you Ma’am.  ‘Ere, ‘ave one back for your old Mum, and say nothin’, darlin’.

Gotta love those East-end villains, innit?

Seriously, though.  What do you make of that robbery over the weekend in Hatton Garden?

Seriously?  I ask you.

Do people learn nothing?

Fucking Hatton Garden?

The premier jewellery-dealing location in London is a place one might imagine would be well protected, wouldn’t you think?  I’d have thought so as indeed most people might, but not the East-End villains who spotted a chink in the armour of these diamond-dealing diamond dealers, despite the absence of Michael Caine to work out the details.

The villains, it seems, hid in a lift-shaft while the diamond dealers shut up shop for the religiously-inspired Easter break and then they got to work, breaking into safety-deposit vaults using fairly-normal construction tools, but absconding with jewels that were far from normal.  One Hatton Garden jeweller, Norman Bean, feared that a jewel worth £500,000 might have been taken.

We won’t lose too much sleep for the individuals who were robbed, since the jewels are insured, and nobody these days has much sympathy for vast financial conglomerates, but at the same time isn’t it wonderful to think that old-fashioned crime can still pay?

I think it’s wonderful that old-fashioned criminals — safe crackers, get-away men and the like — can break into an old-fashioned Hatton Garden safety-deposit bank, steal old-fashioned swag like diamonds and abscond in the old-fashioned style, while old-fashioned rozzers scratch their old-fashioned heads and wonder what happened.

Let’s not worry too much about the loss, since that will be picked up by the same old-fashioned insurance companies who were so involved in robbing the rest of us during the financial collapse.

I’m with the East-End villains on this one.




Murder Sexual abuse

The Many Victims of Graham Dwyer

Graham Dwyer has been convicted of murder, confirming what everyone in Ireland, including the trial judge, knew.  The only doubt was this: would the circumstantial evidence be enough to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he had murdered Elaine O’Hara?

graham dwyer

As it turned out, the prosecution did more than enough to convince the jury, who wasted no time in finding Dwyer guilty of this filthy crime.  Given the appalling evidence presented to the jury, it was to their credit that they didn’t  immediately convict him solely on the grounds of his utter personal vileness.  They didn’t succumb to that temptation.  Instead, they retired and considered the evidence for almost a week, occasionally asking for clarification before finally returning to pronounce him a murderer.

The jury had no scope to convict him of being a pervert, a sadist, a deviant or a psychopath, and that’s just as well, since these labels tell us nothing about the urges that motivated Graham Dwyer.

They tell us nothing about a charming, talented young man who was sacked from at least one architectural practice for destroying the desk of a colleague he’d provoked a row with in the pub.

They tell us nothing about the man from a humble background in Bandon who was so obsessed with his status and his diminutive stature that he hacked the  computer system of an employer to find out how much his colleagues were being paid.

They tell us nothing about the popular, guitar-playing architectural student, liked by women but who preferred to target vulnerable girls with low self-esteem.

Graham Dwyer isn’t suffering from some syndrome.  He doesn’t have a psychiatric condition.   He has no mental illness.  Graham Dwyer is simply bad, all the way to the bone.  This is one evil man and that’s all there is to be said about him.

Sadly, Graham Dwyer has left a string of victims behind him, including, but not confined to, the mother of his first child, who provided the court with horrifying evidence of his desire to stab women during sex.

Including, but not confined to, his wife and his children, who have obviously decided that he’s already dead, ignoring him in court as they gave evidence against him.

Including, but not confined to the family that raised him in Bandon.

We don”t know who else Graham Dwyer has hurt in the course of his violence-obsessed life, but it’s safe to assume that his proclivities didn’t suddenly appear on his fortieth birthday, or his thirtieth or his twentieth.

This is an evil man.  There’s no other way to describe him.

He’s not disordered.  He doesn’t have a psychiatric condition.

He’s simply evil. This evil man enjoys violence against women and when the evil urge overtakes him, he has no control of himself.

It seems clear that the murder of Elaine O’Hara can’t be  Graham Dwyer’s first foray into that horrible world of sadism, so the question now arises, what other murders and disappearances should be re-examined to see if this pervert had some involvement.

Sadly, Dwyer compounded the hurt in the statement he issued after conviction, in which he appears to imply that his children are not his family.  His lawyers, who facilitated this statement, appear to have little difficulty with this.

I wish to take this opportunity to formally thank my legal team, my solicitor Jonathan Dunphy, senior counsel Remy Farrell, barristers Ronan Kennedy and Kate McCormack, for their work and dedication since 2013.
I also wish to thank my family, friends and colleagues for the continued unwavering support throughout this period.
To the members of the media, I am grateful for the privacy you have afforded both my family and people close to me during the trial.
I now respectfully ask that you continue to respect their privacy and I confirm that there will be no further comment by my family or myself concerning this case whatsoever.
Thank you,
Graham Dwyer.


By contrast, this statement released by his estranged wife, Gemma, shows concern and compassion for Dwyer’s victim.

Gemma Dwyer and her immediate family have noted the proceedings of the court and its guilty verdict today.Their thoughts and condolences are with the O’Hara family for the grief and pain they are suffering.
In the interests of maintaining privacy, and in particular to protect the interests of her children, Gemma Dwyer and members of her immediate family – parents, siblings and children – will not be making any further comment now, or in the future, on the case.
The family would request that the media and members of the public respect their privacy in any further reporting or commentary, particularly with regard to the need to protect their children from any intrusion into their lives.
Murder Sexual abuse

Graham Dwyer Murder Trial — Lessons to be Learned

The details emerging in the Graham Dwyer murder trial are some of the most disturbing I’ve ever come across, but that’s not because I find the gruesome details shocking.  I’ve encountered some terrible things in the course of my life, including violent death from many causes.

I find the details shocking because the case has exposed a whole sub-culture, a world of people obsessed with inflicting and suffering pain.  A world where some people think of themselves as gods, while others view themselves as worthless objects to be abused and disposed of.

Innocent or guilty of Elaine O’Hara’s murder, this is the world Graham Dwyer immersed himself in, to the extent that his corporeal existence as a partner in the architectural firm Wejcherts seems to have become the fantasy side of his life rather than the reality.  If the evidence is to be believed, Dwyer plunged into the darkness of a world where pain is the only reality, the only currency worth possessing.  The fictional stories found on his external drives detail fantasies of abduction, torture and murder, but what’s deeply disturbing is that these files were kept on the same drive as pictures of family occasions and even a scan of his child in utero, as if they were just another normal part of human existence.

No wonder Graham Dwyer kept his head in his hands as these details were read out to a court cleared of the public by Judge Tony Hunt, though in truth, the judge might as well not have bothered, since we’re already hardened to the brutality of modern life.

On the other side of this equation, Graham Dwyer seemed to find common cause with people who wished to be harmed, humiliated and ultimately murdered.  And he seemed to make contact with them easily enough on the internet where people exist who have such a low opinion of themselves that they consider themselves worthy of nothing better than torture followed by murder.

Out there are people who will gladly offer themselves up for such treatment, and not all of them are women.  In 2001, Armin Meiwes posted an advertisement on  Cannibal Cafe  for “a well-built 18- to 30-year-old to be killed and eaten.”   Bernd Brandes replied to the ad, and together they tried to eat Brandes before he died of his injuries.  There was no coercion involved.  Brandes wanted to be killed and eaten.  Some very strange people inhabit the world of pain and humiliation.

When I was growing up, I knew a young lad who took great enjoyment from inflicting pain on small animals.  I don’t know where that impulse came from, but the last I heard he was a school principal somewhere.

How can anyone understand such a thing?  I can’t and neither, in all likelihood, can you.

But the fact is that the world is full of sadistic people and most of them will never kill or even inflict a tiny cut on another human being.  For every gross murder that grabs the headlines, a dozen dysfunctional sadists in business inflict unnecessary pain on a vulnerable colleague, a dozen nasty-minded care professionals humiliate some old person, a dozen power-maddened policemen  force an innocent passer-by to the ground, a dozen direct-provision hostel owners bark instructions at a desperate refugee from torture in a foreign country and a dozen petty Social Welfare officials humiliate some unemployed dole-applicant queueing at a hatch.

Maybe we should ask ourselves if the Graham Dwyer case simply reveals the extreme end of deeply-ingrained human tendency.



Prurient Reporting of Elaine O’Hara’s Sad Life Needs to Stop

Clichés become clichés because they’re mostly true, except when they happen to be utterly dishonest excuses for vile behaviour.

One that stands out for me is the utterly-discredited nonsense about hard cases making bad law, a pre-digested fallacy that has been used to justify every sort of oppression against women for as long as I can remember, and what’s more, a thoroughly meaningless mantra which is never challenged by our world-leading, cutting-edge journalists.

Sadly, our world-leading, cutting-edge journalists are now bowing the head to another truism: paper never refused ink, even when that paper is metaphorical and thus we see the tabloidisation of our broadcast media, including RTÉ.

We know the broad outlines of the Graham Dwyer murder case.  We also know that Elaine O’Hara was a woman with unusual and personally-harmful preferences.

Do we need to know any more than that?

Do we need to hear an RTÉ reporter, wearing a fake-respectful mask, intone the humiliating details of Elaine’s texts and interactions on social media?  We know what was going on.  We get it.  Do we need to hear Fergal Keane telling us in his particularly soulless delivery things that only Elaine and her therapist needed to know?

In my opinion, this is vampire journalism.

This is news porn dressed up as public-service broadcasting.

Shame on RTÉ.  Shame on the Independent.

We know what was going on with this poor, dead woman.  There is no need to drag the details around like a dog would drag some unspeakable thing found in a hedge.

Isn’t it about time to show some respect?



Crime Favourites Policing

Garda Reform Most Extensive in History of Force

An Garda Síochána is to be reformed, apparently.

In the most radical restructuring since the formation of the force, Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan has imposed strict limits on doughnut use and announced intensive courses on the correct pronunciation of “vehicle”.

Hawks are to be curtailed.  No member of the force will henceforth be able to buy more than twenty items at cost price from retailers in any given year.

Young drunken off-duty gardai who flash identification at fellow night-clubbers  before beating them up will from now on be called in front of the Super, who will be required to say For fucksake lads three times. before shaking his head ruefully.

Any Garda checking out a car for a friend will be required to provide a reason before looking up the ownership details and passing them on.

Gardai will not, in future, be permitted to copy personal information about citizens from the PULSE system and place it on their personal laptops, if their children are likely to use the laptop for Facebook.  Gardai without children will be exempt from this requirement.

However, Templemore will continue as a monastic settlement, where recruits are taught that society consists of two groups: An Garda Siochána and potential criminals.

An Garda Síochána, unlike the PSNI, will continue to be a security agency as well as a police force.

There will be no concerted attempt to confront the entrenched inertia that keeps the force rooted in the attitudes of the 1920s, diverting allocating  resources to such vital tasks as the enforcement of pub licensing hours.

An Garda Síochána is dragged kicking and screaming into the 1950s.





Copenhagen Shootings

Some pictures from our man in Copenhagen.

Thanks to Brian O’Connor for providing them.

Copenhagen shooting 01

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Copenhagen shooting 06

"Muslims and Jews refuse to be enemies
“Muslims and Jews refuse to be enemies”

Copenhagen shooting 08

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