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Aimee Foley: “I can’t wash my hands without seeing the blood that stains my hands the night he raped me on them."

‘There isn’t a time when he isn’t assaulting me in my own head’

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THE horrific psychological impact of being raped and sexually assaulted continues for Aimee Foley after her father was convicted last December of committing heinous crimes against her.

During a recent major panic attack in the USA, Aimee recalled she broke down shaking, couldn’t walk and was frozen because she smelt an aftershave that reminded her of her father.

“It brought me back to a time in my life I didn’t remember previously and didn’t report to the gardai because I had no recollection until that moment. I have to go through that every day.

“I have been put through so much turmoil. I don’t want to have children. What happens if the man I love and marry rapes my child? I can never trust a man again. I am in survival mode.

“There isn’t a time when he isn’t assaulting me in my own head. Whether it is ‘you look ugly in the mirror’ the next thing is I hear his voice inside my head. I don’t have my own thought process in that he is ingrained into my head. He is my inner voice in my head.

“I will never get this out of my head unless I spend half my life in counselling. I am grieving the loss of a childhood and a life.

“I have two lives – from the time before I was sexually assaulted and my innocence was taken and then my life afterwards.

“I can’t wash my hands without seeing the blood that stains my hands the night he raped me on them.

“Whether people remember me forever as the girl who was raped by my father, I don’t care. I will never be able to change that but I can change the system in Ireland.

“I am not a number or a statistic,” she said.

Aimee wasn’t expecting a sentence on Friday and thought her father might get another two years.

“I am delighted with the sentence delivered on appeal, but this is something that should have been handed down originally. I had to be re-traumatised again.
I have to try and heal every day of my life. He wouldn’t be in prison only I reported it because he wasn’t going to report it.

“I can’t be touched on my shoulders, I can’t hear certain music, I can’t smell certain smells, I can’t hear certain phrases, I can’t be in certain places because it triggers flashbacks.”

She claimed that her father only admitted to one count of sexual assault to gardai, but didn’t admit to raping her when he originally handed himself in.

“He admitted to one count of assault thinking that was all I could remember, he was prosecuted for 31 counts of sexual assault, one count of rape and one count of child pornography. He wasn’t expecting that at all. But he knew if he pleaded guilty, he would get time off his sentence, not out of any remorse.”

Even though her father pleaded guilty, Aimee stressed this did not prevent her from being traumatised because she still had to listen to very distressing evidence and had to compile her heart wrenching 88-page official statement, where she described in extreme detail what her father did to her.

“I had to go to locations to ensure they corroborated with my story. I had to live with the flashbacks. I understand I would be called every name under the sun if there was cross-examination, but I was ready for that. That’s why I reported it. It wasn’t hoping he would plead guilty. I was ready for whatever the outcome was going to be.”

Citing a recent incident in Aldi after Aimee came home from America, her mother Camille recalled her daughter completely broke down because she felt a man was staring at her, which was just one example of the psychological impact of waiving her anonymity to ensure her father was named.

“Straight away she felt they know who I am. Aimee has said to me she will always be known as the girl who was raped by her father.”

What really upset Camille during the court case was the “humiliation” Aimee continued to suffer from her so-called father.

She said that she had experienced physical, emotional and sexual abuse for most of her life including periods she couldn’t remember and hadn’t reported because she hadn’t specific dates for abuse she didn’t fully understand at the time was wrong because she was so young.

While Aimee can’t remember the date of every single sexual assault, she claimed she either was physically, sexually or emotionally abused every time she met him.

“If I wasn’t with him, he would call me and degrade me over the phone. I can’t give exact dates for that. I understand courts need dates to find a person guilty, but what about the dates I can’t give you.

“What about the flashbacks I get from things I hadn’t even remembered before. I can’t go back and change my statement.

“He fought to get a court order to do these things to me at weekends. In his eyes, I was never his daughter, I was his object and something he could possess and do things that he could get away with.

“He didn’t think I would have the courage or the memory to realise this was wrong and report him.

“People look for drugs. Rape and sexual assault isn’t something a person just does, nor is it looked for, it is calculated.

“Drug dealers get put away from seven plus years. Rape happens just as much as drugs are taken but nobody speaks about rape because nothing is done to the rapist.”

When Aimee was 13 years old, she recalled her father telling her he would bend over and rape her without her consent. Two years later, she said he carried out his threat.

She said it was hard to have to seek information about when her appeal might be heard instead of getting regular unsolicited updates.

“The DPP and the gardaí were fantastic. They secured Professor Thomas O’Malley from University College Galway who has publications on sexual offences and crimes. People in law study his work.”

She recalled that she hadn’t the services of senior counsel for the initial case, but wasn’t blaming or criticising anyone in authority as a senior counsel may not have been available.

“He (Michael) had senior and junior counsel. My junior counsel, Conal McCarthy was unbelievable. He knew I was wronged by the original sentence. He made me very aware we are fighting for you. He put on a fantastic battle but had the job of two people.”

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