It’s been one year since Dominique Meehan waived her anonymity to advocate for the survivors of rape and to encourage more victims to speak out.
A year ago Keith Hearne was jailed for 12 years for raping her at an Arcade Convention three years ago.
She said too much focus is put on the victim’s innocence, rather than the assailants.
“I remember the night that I was attacked after it happened and I was with a guard.
“The guard was asking me ‘did you do anything to lead him on’ and said ‘can you prove that you didn’t?'”
“It wasn’t until I said I’m gay that it was said ‘OK'”, she told Independent.ie.
Even a year after Hearne was sentenced having plead guilty, she still gets questioned as to her innocence.
“If I have to tell someone new, I will get the questions like did I say anything to him or did I do anything, was I drunk or wearing anything weird,” she said.
“It’s like people are looking for gossip and I think it’s just this rape culture that brings it on.”
Meehan said that it is the stigma that causes many victims to stay silent, saying that if it hadn’t have been for her friend telling her to call the police immediately after interrupting the assault, she would have stayed silent.
“If I hadn’t been told to ring the guards then, I wouldn’t have gone to the guards,” she said.
To this day, Dominique still faces questions and scepticism from people who ask inappropriate questions.
When Dominique was applying to get into college and seeking help with her application, she met with an access officer.
During the interview, she was asked if she was drunk at the time as well as being asked to explain if she had any role in causing the attack.
“I just answered and said that I hadn’t a drink on me.
“It didn’t occur to me at the time and it never does until later, that I shouldn’t have been asked that question,” she said.
She said the question always returns to how she conducted herself and never on how her attacker conducted himself.
“It’s sort of expected that people will blame you,” she said adding, “they never ask about him it’s always about me. Even now after sentencing they always say well what happened.”
“I usually get texts from people saying the same thing happened to me,” she said.
If you were affected by any of the issues highlighted in this article you can reach out to the following:
Irish Rape Crisis Centre
T (24-hour helpline): 1800778888 | W: https://www.rapecrisishelp.ie/
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre
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