A WOMAN who fell pregnant after being raped by her father on her 18th birthday has seen him jailed for seven and a half years.
Julieanne Boyle has waived her right to anonymity after her father was sentenced for the offence on January 25, in a bid to encourage others to come forward about sexual abuse.
The 51-year-old is one of an increasing number of abuse survivors who have successfully brought their attackers to justice for non-recent crimes.
This week Ms Boyle, of North Belfast, spoke out about the abuse she suffered for years at the hands of her father.
“My ‘father’, who was never worthy of that title, robbed me of my innocence and I was silenced for so long as the abuse started when I was 11,” she said.
“At 51, I am now speaking out and taking back my life and my freedom.”
She added: “I lived a life in fear, fear of him, then fear of not being believed.
“I do not want other survivors out there to think they cannot speak out.
“I was believed, I was supported and I finally got justice. He no longer has any power over me.
“The trauma I experienced in not only being sexually abused but also losing my child, I will never fully recover from but today I feel like I can finally put my daughter to rest.”
Her father, William Boyle, now 88, of Fisher Close, Birmingham, was arrested on October 15, 2019.
A native of north Belfast, he was previously convicted for incest offences against his daughter under old legislation in 1984.
This week the PSNI is highlighting Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week to show the public that support is available to survivors, particularly of non-recent abuse.
Ms Boyle has commended the police force for the support they have provided as her father was brought to justice.
“I would like to thank the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Rape Crime Unit and the Public Protection Service for their support throughout the investigation and subsequent court case,” she said.
“The support I received from the outset gave me the confidence and strength to not give up even through the most difficult of circumstances.
“I would urge other survivors to come forward and report their abuse,” she added.
“I know you will be treated with the same respect, compassion and empathy I was.
“I will continue to fight for other survivors. Remember, it is not your shame to carry.”
Speaking this week, Detective Chief Superintendent Lindsay Fisher, of the Police Service’s Public Protection Branch, said: “The silence surrounding sexual abuse must be broken.
“In Northern Ireland we have had a rise in the number of victims of non-recent abuse coming forward, not just in familial cases like Julieanne’s, but also involving long standing institutions.
“For so long, there has been a cultural stigma at play and we have harboured a society where sex in general has been a taboo subject and so when people have been assaulted, they have found it incredibly difficult to tell someone.
“It is encouraging to see reporting figures go up as it tells me that our communities are taking serious steps to dispel harmful myths and move away from a victim blaming culture.”
She added: “This week, and every week, we are asking the public to take a stand with us and say – it is not ok.
“The perpetrators of these crimes are only ever the ones at fault and don’t let the passage of time stop you from finally having your voice heard. We will listen, support and robustly investigate, always.
“If you have been the victim of a similar crime, I hope that Julieanne’s case and other recent successful sentencings gives you the confidence to tell us.”