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'My name is Lavinia': First rape survivor to waive anonymity tells her story

“Pre-1991, you would never hear the word ‘rape’ on radio, it was like a curse word,” Lavinia Kerwick said in an emotional interview.

Source: The Late Late Show/YouTube

THE FIRST IRISH rape victim to waive her anonymity after the man convicted of raping her received a suspended sentence has said that she was always made to feel that campaigning for the introduction of victim impact statements “was the wrong thing”.

After the man who violently assaulted her when she was 19 walked free, Lavinia Kerwick  waived her right to anonymity in an interview with Gerry Ryan on RTÉ 2FM in 1993.

Lavinia told last night’s Late Late Show that she’s never listened back to the interview because she “remembers every word”.

Kerwick credited the late presenter Ryan for helping her to tell her story. Lavinia said last night that Gerry Ryan’s use of the word “rape” caught her attention:

“Pre-90/91, you would never hear the word ‘rape’ on radio, it was like a curse word,” she said.

So I just picked up the phone, and he was the first person in all those months that asked me my name. And I just said ‘My name is Lavinia’ That was it.

She said that the moment was “hugely important” for her.

“It was like sitting beside him, I didn’t realise there were 100,000s of people listening. It was very personal, he was hugely compassionate. From start to finish, I did not hear him interrupt that conversation.”

During her campaign for the introduction of victim impact statements, and said that she was made to feel like she was “doing the wrong thing”. When applause of thanks broke out from presenter Ryan Tubridy and the studio audience for her work to introduce victim impact statements in Ireland, Lavinia said that she hadn’t received anything like it before.

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Addressing the camera, she asked for others who had been raped to tell their family, friends, or the authorities.

This guilt and shame does not belong to you, it belongs to the rapist.

If you need to talk, contact:

If you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised in this piece, please contact the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.

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