"For the many survivors who may be struggling to break the silence and the many more who may feel conflicted and afraid after disclosing, may the wisdom, humanity, courage and irrepressible spirit of Joyce, June and Paula Kavanagh bring you hope and healing" 
Julie Brown Clinical Director One in Four

Joyce, June and Paula are three sisters born into a large family of ten children in the late 1950’s-early 1960’s in a disadvantaged area of Dublin, where their father sexually abused them daily from age three or four right up to our late teens. In 1989, they made the decision to bring charges against their father and, in 1990; the Irish State took a successful case against him. He was convicted and sentenced to a term of seven years and was released having served five.
Each of the sisters explain what Breaking the Silence means for them.

I never made the decision to break the silence however, due to the fact my father continued to abuse others outside the family circle who were brave enough to speak out, that decision was forced on me.
Although initially I was in shock and consumed with shame and guilt when the story broke, over time I came to realise the liberation that came from releasing the secret. The freedom from guilt and shame that followed allowed me to realise just how much baggage I was carrying and letting rule my life.

I realised none of the beliefs I held were either real, or mine, but those I inherited from my dad (abuser). It is important to note, the only person protected by secrecy and silence is the abuser. With the right support you can rediscover yourself and free yourself of a
responsibility for a crime someone else committed. This also freed me from self-hatred, guilt and shame. 

I broke the silence and ended the secrecy of my childhood abuse with one word. I answered 'YES' when my mother asked me if my father had ever sexually abused me or my sisters.
The moment I said yes, I was terrified of what might happen next. I was afraid that I had made the biggest mistake of my life. Looking back, I can see how necessary it was for me to break the silence if I was ever to have an opportunity to find out who I am. I could never have experienced any semblance of reality, honesty, real love and forgiveness. I am eternally grateful for all the ingredients that came together to make me who I am, and why I was destined to be the one my mother came to that fateful night.
The impacts of childhood trauma can never be healed or overcome as long as it remains a secret you never tell.  You simply must break the silence if you ever hope to have a chance of the happiness you so desperately want and deserve.

I never got the opportunity to make the decision to report my father, the circumstances forced the decision upon me. For a long time, I did regret not making that decision alone. I felt cheated of an opportunity to stand up to him. As a result, I turned those regrets into
anger and internalised those feelings and directed them at myself.
I spent the majority of my life believing I was a coward, I trusted no one.  I ran from uncomfortable situations, relationships and confrontation. I just didn’t see me ever coming out on top. I convinced myself that it just wasn’t worth the effort.  I never realised not caring about myself was the real problem.
For me, speaking out allowed me to finally acknowledge the courage and strength that I have always possessed. Making the decision to speak out can often feel insurmountable, but it is the only way to really live this life and not merely exist. We all deserve the best that life can offer, and it all begins with breaking the silence.  
Take care
Joyce, June and Paula