A woman has revealed on live radio how she was brutally raped while working abroad, in a brave effort to encourage other possible victims of sexual assault and rape to speak out.
Speaking live on air with broadcaster Ryan Tubridy on his RTE 2fm show, Hazel Behan – a mother of one from Dublin – said that what she had to say "is not something that everyone would talk about".
Behan was a 21-year-old living in Portugal and working as a children's rep at a holiday resort at the time of the assault in June 2004.
At the start of the 30-minute interview on RTE 2fm, which was broadcast on Tuesday morning, she spoke about a feeling of discomfort with her surroundings, saying: "I felt something was peculiar in my room and I always felt as if somebody had been in there watching me." She then proceeded to recount how a man broke into her room and raped her, describing her horrifying ordeal in intricate detail that left Tubridy and listeners "heartbroken".
Although 90% of rapes are committed by "known" people, Behan was attacked by someone she did not know.
"When he asked me if I was afraid, I said I wasn't," she told the radio host. "Of course I was – I was shaking uncontrollably."
Behan added that she believed the rapist was intent on inflicting pain.
"I knew from things he was saying and doing that he didn't like girls," she said. "He made comments about my weight, how I looked, how ugly and fat I was. He was out to inflict pain on a girl. He wanted to make me suffer."
The harrowing ordeal lasted for four hours.
Behan then spoke candidly about the "degrading" treatment she suffered from policemen and officials who she believes did not take her case as seriously as they should have.
"They took pictures of me as I stood naked in a star jump," she said. "I believe they could have done it better. That was the most degrading thing, not something I needed at that time.
"I don't think it was taken as seriously as it should have been. I think they wanted to protect the holiday industry – they didn't want it to be known that this happened in a holiday resort."
Behan said the police investigators asked her what she was wearing, whether she was drunk, and whether she invited someone back to the room. The rapist was never found.
The interview can be listened to here:
If you are looking for support, you can call the national Rape Crisis helpline on 0808 802 9999. The helpline is open every day of the year from 12pm–2.30pm and from 7pm–9.30pm.
Rossalyn Warren is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Rossalyn Warren at email@example.com.
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