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'Beyond inspiring': Late Late viewers were united in their admiration of Lavinia Kerwick last night

“This guilt and shame does not belong to you.”

CW: This article makes reference to rape.

27 YEARS AGO, Lavinia Kerwick became the first woman in Ireland to waive her right to anonymity after the man convicted of raping her received a suspended sentence.

lavinia Source: RTÉ

And last night, on International Women’s Day, Lavinia joined Ryan Tubridy on The Late Late Show to discuss her case, its repercussions and why we need to support people in similar circumstances.

Introducing his guest, Ryan reminded the studio audience and viewers at home that the impact Lavinia has had since speaking publicly in 1992 cannot be underestimated.

Her interview on Gerry Ryan’s radio show directly led to the introduction of victim impact statements in court and allowed for lenient sentences in sex crime cases to be appealed for the first time.

Lavinia, who endured severe physical injuries during her brutal assault, said the emotional injuries were equally as profound.

“It’s an attack of your dignity. It’s an attack of your soul,” Lavinia told Ryan. “My soul died. I lost me.”

PastedImage-51656 Source: RTÉ

Lavinia, who dropped to three-and-a-half stone through anorexia in the aftermath of her attack, recalled her reaction upon hearing her rapist was given ‘a year to prove himself’, telling Ryan: “Between him and the court, they raped me again that day in court. I was stunned.”

She went on to explain the impact of her first conversation with the late Gerry Ryan, how she navigated returning to the same Kilkenny town as her rapist, and how she felt when her rapist – one year after the initial hearing – ultimately received a fully-suspended sentence.

After Ryan thanked Lavinia for the strides she has made on behalf of rape victims, she replied: “I don’t hear that that often.”

When I was campaigning for the victim impact statement and now when I’m being thanked, I’ve never heard that. I was always made to feel I was doing the wrong thing by giving women a voice.

Lavinia went on to remind victims of rape: “This guilt and shame does not belong to you. It belongs with its rightful owner, the rapist.”

The studio audience rose to their feet and gave Lavinia a standing ovation while viewers at home wasted no time sharing their admiration for her.


You can watch Lavinia’s full interview here.

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

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About the author:

Niamh McClelland

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