A courageous young woman warns others to beware of a new trend in sexual assault called “stealth” after falling victim to a well-known Irish sportsman.
She broke a three-year silence on the respected sports star that turned what had been an intimate sexual experience into an alleged assault.
Dearbhla (not her real name) said that she and the athlete were having consensual sex when he allegedly removed a condom in the middle of sex despite his consent to wear one.
The underhand act known as stealth involves deliberately removing or damaging a condom when the partner has only consented to condom-protected sex.
Speaking to Dublin Live, Dearbhla said she didn’t even realize stealth was an assault until she tweeted her experience with the #IBelieveHer movement on social media, bringing in other people to share similar experiences.
She recounted how she met the sportsman in Dublin after a party just before Christmas in 2017.
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Speaking exclusively to Dublin Live, she said: “It was your habit before Christmas on Saturday night in town and we were out all night.
“I met this man. He had been at Xico’s and I was at Coppers.
“He was handsome, really handsome and I don’t know how we started to talk, but there were good jokes back and forth.
“He started telling me who he was, that he was well known in sports circles and good at his job and I was like ‘big, whatever. fair play with you “I didn’t care who or what he was, we were just getting started.
“His car was parked somewhere in town and he was adamant about going back there to get something out of it, then he wanted to drive and I wasn’t sure if he was drinking or not, so I said ‘no, we are going. just take a cab home ‘. “
He and Dearbhla both agreed to have sex with a condom, but what started out as a pleasurable experience quickly turned into something she would regret.
She explained, “We were in a position where I was facing him and it wasn’t until we were done that I noticed he was not wearing a condom and I thought at first he was could have broken but then I saw it on the ground.
“People have always asked me ever since, ‘Are you sure you asked her to use a condom?’ and I did – that was one of the main breaking factors.
“I said, ‘Why the hell did you do that?’ I didn’t even have the vocabulary to express my anger and anger.
“He just shrugged and said ‘it’s getting better’, then he literally turned and fell asleep.
“He really couldn’t understand why I was so angry. I don’t know if it was ignorance or stupidity.
Lying on the bed next to him, furious, Dearbhla began to blame herself.
“I started to think, ‘Well it’s your fault now, you shouldn’t bring a random guy home’ but somehow I ended up sleeping.”
“The next morning I went to the bathroom and within two minutes of leaving he was gone.
“I thought ‘lovely.’ He left his passport, car keys and wallet behind, so I took a picture of his passport so I could give him a social media search later that night. . “
The sports star returned to pick up his things shortly after, but met an angry Dearbhla at the door.
“Before he had time to say ‘I …’ I just threw things at him and slammed the door. I was so embarrassed and mortified and didn’t know what was going on. was worse, the sexual aspect or her leaving while I was in the bathroom. “
Dearbhla soon realized that the sports star wasn’t bluffing and quickly discovered his social media accounts followed by tens of thousands of people.
“It was only then that I started to think, maybe he is well known. I also saw pictures of him with his girlfriend and I was like ‘what a double pig “to not only do that but also to cheat.
“A few days later I was home for Christmas and I was leafing through the newspaper and then saw her picture at an event.
“I took a picture of it and sent it to her on Instagram and said sarcastically ‘Hope you and your girlfriend have a nice Christmas.’
“He responded kindly by saying ‘thank you very much, same to you and yours’ and I said ‘you don’t remember me do you?’.
Dearbhla’s Instagram page was private, but when she took it away to reveal herself to the man she had been sexually assaulted weeks before, she was immediately blocked.
“After I made my page public, I said to him ‘Sorry, look again and see if you can refresh your memory’. My post was seen but I was immediately blocked and his posts were deleted.”
Thinking it was just a possible night of passion gone awry, Dearbhla did not report the incident to the Gardai.
The two-year-old’s guts flew away and Dearbhla questioned the night in the back of her mind, still oblivious to the fact that she had been sexually assaulted until the #IBelieveHer movement.
Similar to #MeToo, this brought together Irish women who had had similar experiences of sexual assault and helped them express themselves while helping other victims.
“A few months ago the movement started and I told my story on Twitter without naming any names or giving any clues as to who it might be.
“Immediately it exploded. I was getting messages on messages, but one story I heard was very similar to mine and the woman said to me ‘this is serious sexual assault.’ And it is. the first time i realize i was assaulted by this man.
“It wasn’t just a nod, it was real assault.”
And over the past two days, her story gained traction again, prompting the sports star to delete her Twitter account.
But he also unblocked Dearbhla on Instagram, which she doesn’t know how to feel.
“I don’t know if I will receive a message with an apology, a warning, a threat or a lawsuit. I don’t know what will follow.
“But it’s important to tell my story. First of all, it’s important to educate people on the right words. I didn’t know what stealth was until recently, no matter what. act of aggression.
“In addition, I hope that my account of the events will help create legislation to combat this in the future and also help other victims speak out and know that they will be heard.”
Sadly, Dearbhla believes the time to report the alleged assault has sadly passed and does not want her name associated with the man, hence the fact that she was referred to as Dearbhla Duff on Twitter.
“That was almost three years ago. If I had left right away, who knows what might have happened but I didn’t know the extent of that night at the time.
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“If I was going to go I imagine I would have done it now, but I can’t imagine I would report it now or in the future. It’s not on my agenda anyway.
“I don’t want my name to be associated with hers forever. But I’ll never forget it. It was disrespectful and it was a breach of trust.”