‘What happened to me was not my fault… but it took me a long time to realize that’

A young woman who was repeatedly raped by her adoptive father over a seven-year period said she feels she can “breathe a sigh of relief” after her sentencing on Friday.

“Everything I locked away is gone and I feel like I took my power away from it,” Kelly Kemmy, 24, said.

Speaking to the Irish Times, Ms Kemmy said she “still has a long way to go to recovery, but I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders today.”

Ms Kemmy’s adoptive father, Stephen Murray (56), of Humphreystown, Valleymount, County Wicklow, pleaded guilty in Central Criminal Court to multiple counts of rape, oral rape and sexual assault. He was sentenced to 12 years with a one-year suspension by Judge Paul McDermott.

Ms. Kemmy waived her right to anonymity because she no longer felt she had anything to be ashamed of.

“What happened to me was not my fault, I did nothing wrong and I have nothing to hide. But it took me a long time to realize that. I’ve been in counseling for three years and it probably took me about two and a half years of that time to realize that it wasn’t me, and it’s not a reflection of me,” she said, adding, “I hope this helps others. .”

Before reporting the abuse to gardaí, Ms Kemmy feared that she would be separated from her two younger brothers, who were also living in the foster home at the time of the abuse.

“It was the fear that we would break up because we lived together in that house for 17 or 18 years and they are my biological brothers, so I didn’t want us to break up.”

Mrs Kemmy moved out the day she gave her statement to the gardaí and her two brothers were taken out of the house.

“My life was uprooted that day, but luckily things turned out for the best. My brother is renting nearby now and my sister lives with a friend,” said Ms. Kemmy, as she now lives with her partner and her three-month-old daughter.

“We not only lost a father but also a mother because we no longer have a relationship,” said Ms Kemmy. However, her siblings and her relatives have been “really supportive” since she made the decision to report the abuse in 2019 and attended Mr Murray’s sentencing hearings with her this week.

In her victim impact statement, Ms. Kemmy told the court that she was determined not to let the abuse define her. After her adoptive father’s sentencing, she said she was “looking forward to moving on with my life with my partner and my little girl.”

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