Sunday 18 November 2018

Sex assault victims 'should feel free to come forward'

Dr Ciara Kelly has spoken out
Dr Ciara Kelly has spoken out

Broadcaster Dr Ciara Kelly is hoping female victims of sexual assault and inappropriate behaviour will feel able to come forward after she revealed a woman came to her with allegations of rape.

Over the weekend, Newstalk presenter Dr Kelly claimed the alleged perpetrator of the rape had also acted inappropriately toward her.

She did not know the woman who approached her to make the allegation, but said she believed her.

Speaking to the Herald, Dr Kelly acknowledged going public with allegations against an unidentified person was a difficult issue to navigate.

"This is a very difficult area and I think there's no doubt that this is probably uncharted territory and that a boundary is being pushed by doing this," she said.

"Having said that, I've seen the various people, and not everyone who disagrees with me is a troll, but there are people who have expressed what could be termed valid concerns.

"But my feeling on it, because I did think about this beforehand, is that ultimately the more important issue is, if there is - and I believe it is the case - someone who has serially abused women over decades in Ireland, that it would be brought to justice and those women would have some recourse.

"I think that remains the most important issue, the women that have been affected, like the woman that came to me."

Dr Kelly spoke about the case of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, against whom 82 women have now made allegations of sexual abuse.


"We have different laws in Ireland to America, but - parking the law for a moment and parking the legality or illegality, parking that whole area or issue - if it wasn't for women's voices, Harvey Weinstein would still be the head of what was Miramax and he would still be a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures," she said.

Dr Kelly said one of the positives of social media was that it could amplify small voices "so they become a roar".

"In my view, this is like lifting a rock and seeing what is hidden," she added.

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