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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: -2°C
LinkedIn Magnus Meyer Hustveit (25) who pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to one count of rape and one count of sexual assault between 2011 and 2012.
Suspended sentence

The woman raped by her boyfriend as she slept has been speaking out all day

Niamh Ní Dhomhnail has received huge praise for her stance, with listeners describing her as an “inspiring woman”.

Updated 5.15pm

THE WOMAN WHO saw her rapist walk free yesterday has said the suspended sentence given to her former boyfriend sends a clear message that rape is not being taken seriously in this country.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, 28-year-old Niamh Ní Dhomhnail - who has waived her right to anonymity – said she didn’t feel justice had been done.

The man – who wrote to his former partner and admitted he had been using her “body for my gratification” for nearly a year received a suspended sentence.

Norwegian Magnus Meyer Hustveit (25) pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to one count of rape and one count of sexual assault between 2011 and 2012.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said it was a very exceptional case, adding “in truth this case comes here today out of his own mouth”.

He handed down a seven year sentence, suspending all of it.

The case has come in for intense scrutiny since the verdict came in yesterday. Groups like the Rape Crisis Network have been critical of the decision, and said the impact of Meyer Hustveit’s actions must be taken into account.

Niamh, who also spoke to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, said it was an abusive relationship and that it had been difficult to come to the conclusion that it was rape and to confront her ex-boyfriend about it.

She said she and her parents had been left reeling from yesterday’s ruling, and that she had expected him to spend some time in prison.

I heard the words but I don’t think it sank in.
This is so much bigger than me and this case sends a clear message to Irish society that rape and sexual violence is not being taken seriously enough.

She said she went to court to get a concrete acknowledgement that what was done to her was wrong, adding:

I think it is only fair when you do wrong you bear the consequences.

While she has been left physically and mentally unwell and unable to work, her ex-boyfriend has been able to carry on with his life, she said.

She noted it was not first time a rapist has been given a suspended sentence. Regarding her outlook, in the wake of the experience, she said:

There are a lot of dark days.

In a longer interview with Ray D’Arcy this afternoon, Niamh spoke about the early days of their relationship, gave details of the abuse, and highlighted the importance of reporting such cases to authorities.

“People who stand by abusing people – who cover up for abusers – are enabling abusing behaviour.

If you have information on something like this – regardless of whether it’s happening to you are not, we all have a duty of care. Rape, sexual violence, domestic abuse – whatever it is – destroys people.

She said she “couldn’t have it on my conscience” that she had allowed him to continue his behaviour “because there was no indication for me that he would have stopped”.

Custodial sentence

Niamh said she had had regular nightmares in the wake of her experience.

There’s also just this presence that he’s in my dream or sometimes I could be walking down the street and think I see him or somehow worry that he’s somewhere nearby and of course he isn’t.

“That is the real power of inter-personal violence and rape is that it’s not within the act itself. It’s the legacy and how it manifests in you afterwards. And that’s not the fault of the individual for having those feelings.”

Asked whether Meyer Hustveit should have been sent to prison, Niamh said it was an issue she’d had a number of discussions with her family about.

She said that, given the reputation of Irish prisons, she had a “niggling concern” about the issue 

“Some horrendous things happen to inmates in prison,” she said.

What good would it be for an individual if they were in prison and experienced something similar to what happened to me?

She urged anyone who has been victim of rape or sexual assault to call someone and seek out support, and thanked everyone who had come forward to offer support to her following yesterday’s ruling.

First published 9.00am. Includes reporting from Daragh Brophy.

Read: No jail for man who raped his girlfriend up to 10 times while she slept>

Read: Police investigate attack on teenage girls that was filmed and shared on Facebook

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