Supporting the rapist and scapegoating the victim…

Mark Coughlan (one of the sharpest writers in the Irish blogosphere) has this extraordinary precedent to the story from Listowel yesterday only this time rather just express sympathy with the perpetrator local people actually appeared to turn on a rape victim from five years ago in the nearby village of Duagh. Mark takes up the story:

…a man named Liam Sheehy raped a local woman in her car. She was giving him a lift home from the town when he pulled the handbrake and raped her.

During the trial a retired principal of the local community college gave character evidence on his behalf, as did the local parish priest, a supervisor in Munster Electronics and a well-respected veterinary surgeon. Despite this he was sentenced to seven years in prison by a jury of his peers.

Although Sheehy had no personal involvement in what Mr Justice Morris called “disgraceful conduct by misguided persons” around Duagh in a campaign against the rape victim and her family, one did emerge.

In the more recent case, the character witness was given by Castlegregory parish priest Fr Seán Sheehy…

Ditto Mark’s suggestion for sending donataions to the Kerry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre… It seems they have a hell of a job on their hands down there…

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  • A Facebook Group has been set up in response to this disgraceful show of support for the perpetrator of a hideous crime.

    It’s called: ‘Shocked by reaction in Listowel‘.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve joined it, although it might be better named: ‘Disgusted by reaction in Listowel (but not that shocked really, given what we already know about some people’s attitudes towards violence against women)’ .

    Admittedly not as snappy but, sadly, a bit more accurate.

  • Fabianus


    “Listowel [and] … some people’s attitudes towards violence against women”

    I understand there are moves afoot to have Listowel twinned with Limkheda.

    During the 2002 riots in Gujarat, scores of Muslim women and girls were sexually violated — raped, gangraped or mutilated. Some saw family members being killed and their homes and businesses destroyed. After these traumatising events many women victims were left to care for their families in makeshift relief camps with inadequate support, conditions and reparations. Few perpetrators were convicted and the victims’ attempts to obtain legal redress have been largely frustrated.

    In one particular case, Bilqis Yakoob Rasool, five months pregnant and fleeing violence in her home village, was gangraped on March 3, 2002, when a Hindu mob caught up with the family near the town of Limkheda. She saw at least three other relatives raped and her three-year-old daughter violently thrown to the ground and killed. She reported the rape and killing of 14 relatives to the police, but in January 2003 the police closed the case stating that “the offence is true but undetected”, ie that those responsible could not be found.

    Source: ‘India: Justice, the Victim — Gujarat state fails to protect women from violence’ (Amnesty International Report).“>Limkheda.

  • ding dong

    there appears to be a perverse culture in Ireland, sexual violence is viewed as something else. A quick glance at Occasions of Sin by Ferriter will confirm anyone’s worst fears. respectability is given to individual on the basis of popularity nothing else and guilt or otherwise is based on ….. I’m actually not sure what.

    Ireland has a problem – most recently exosed in the church but it appears to run much deeper.

    And the agents of the church never seem to learn -Listowel priest for example

  • wild turkey

    “To hand down a seven year sentence in that kind of situation, it seems to me is a miscarriage of justice,” Fr Sheehy said.

    The Castlegregory parish priest says he backed Foley because he knew him to be an “even tempered, placid individual.”

    … ah yes, the old perpetrator as victim riff. now, where have I heard that one before?

    totally agree with ding dong remarks at post #3

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathleen Collins

    my prayers are with the victim.