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14th Oct 2013

“I Can’t Explain How Much I Needed To Hear That Voice” – One Woman Writes of her Experience with the Rape Crisis Centre

There is always help at hand.

If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually abused, you don’t have to manage alone.

That’s the message from the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC), where staff and volunteers work tirelessly to keep the National 24-Hour Helpline operational 365 days a year to offer support to victims of abuse.

Sadly, too many women and men are subject to rape or sexual abuse during their lifetime. While nothing will fix this horror once it has been done, it is so important to know that help is always at hand.

The following is a disguised version of a letter received by CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, from a victim of rape who availed of the service of the National 24 Hour Helpline 1 800 778888.


Dear Ellen,

I was raped after being out with my friends by a total stranger. I was 19. My drink was spiked and I ended up leaving my friends, leaving my bag and coat behind. I have no memory other than flash backs of what happened next. A night that ruined, shaped, changed my life. I am putting a stop to the hold that man has had on the last five years of my life. This is why it seemed fitting to write to you during this time. 

The morning after the rape my friend listened to me, we cried and she then called one of your amazing staff members, who listened to her, spoke to her, asked questions and then asked to speak with me. A more gentle voice I couldn’t have asked for. Everything that morning seemed to be in slow motion. I remember so clearly sitting in my flat as my friend passed me the phone and the lady, said “are you okay? Do you mind speaking to me?  I said no I’m okay. I wish I could remember her name, but I do remember for the first time the feeling of being able to breathe since it happened.

I am aware I am not the only one you have helped over the years, but I can’t explain how much I needed to hear that voice, that morning and for her to explain what to do I may have been the tenth person she spoke to that day but time was no issue and it was the tone of voice that made me relax.

I guess I wanted to contact you and let you know that your service is so important… You may never hear from people after they contact you, but I wanted to let you know that I have built a life for myself, I am happy and I am finally ready to let go of that night. It sounds weird but the first voice I heard in my head when I decided this was the year I forget him, was your staff member telling me it would be okay.

But I am one of the many people you and your team have spoken to that made it out okay, because you were there. Keep up the good work. I can only imagine how hard it is to run the centre but believe me your work effects people more that you know.


Help is always at hand. If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually abused – reach out for help. Contact the national 24 hour helpline on 1800 77 88 88