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Rape survivor on Hook comments: 'You can't say this and not expect a response'

Niamh Ní Dhomhnaill was raped by her then-boyfriend Magnus Meyer Hustveit, who was eventually sentenced to 15 months in jail.

Niamh Ní Dhomnaill
Niamh Ní Dhomnaill
Image: RTÉ

RAPE SURVIVOR NIAMH Ní Dhomhnaill has said that “we need to learn ways to discuss things that are difficult”, two years since her case came to prominence.

Ni Dhomhnaill went public to appeal the leniency of the sentence given to her ex-boyfriend for raping her in her sleep.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Ray D’Arcy Show today, she said that it is “tough to speak about this stuff… but it’s not good enough to shut our eye and close our ears when people want to talk about it”.

Ní Dhomhnaill was appearing on the show in the wake of George Hook’s comments on his Newstalk show about rape last week, that saw some of his own colleagues asking for him to be removed from the air.

D’Arcy put it to her that Hook’s comments could be viewed by some as a “generational thing” as marital rape was not outlawed for his generation, but Ni Dhomnaill said “the point is, when we’re talking about the law there’s no room for opinion”.

“I think this is a difficult topic,” she said. “I think people struggle to talk about it in a nuanced way. I can’t accept age or gender as an excuse.

If you’re called out for something you said… you can’t say stuff and not expect people to respond.

Hook had referenced her case around the time that it was on in conversation with Ivana Bacik, and made a wider comment about “implied consent”.

Ní Dhomnaill said: “Through different individuals, I asked could I speak with George Hook. To maybe have a cup of tea and talk about consent. I was told ‘yes, sure he’ll meet you’. But it never happened. I never got to meet him.

I don’t know George Hook. I don’t know that it would have achieved anything. I think it would have been a good gesture.

Magnus Meyer Hustveit pleaded guilty to one count of rape and one count of sexual assault and was initially given a wholly suspended seven-year sentence.

The leniency of that sentence was appealed and the Norwegian was later sentenced to 15 months in jail. He was released earlier this year.

She was asked why she chose to come forward and waive her right to anonymity. “I wanted to try to address the fact that the sentence wasn’t good enough,” she said.

Ní Dhomhnaill told D’Arcy that some people do treat her differently, despite several years having passed since the court case.

She said: “You’ve some people who are lovely and supportive, and there’s plenty of people who’ve known me for five years who have never once mentioned the court case, they don’t want to mention that I was raped, and they certainly don’t want to mention that I’ve spoken about it publicly.

But that’s their shame, and there’s nothing I can do about that.

Ní Dhomhnaill now works as a sexual violence counsellor. She said that she was glad that she had come forward and made her case public.

Read: Rape victim Niamh Ní Dhomhnaill: “I don’t think he would have stopped at just me.”

Read: Man given 15-month jail term for raping girlfriend while she slept

About the author:

Sean Murray

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