Dublin sexual assault surviror says court system was worse than sickening attack

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The survivor of a violent sexual assault by a stranger yesterday insisted that her experience in the courts system was worse than the sickening attack itself.

Brave Sarah Grace decided to speak publicly about how depraved Ibrahim Elghynaoui broke into her apartment and subjected her to a horrific ordeal.

The 28-year-old monster faced multiple charges, including aggravated sexual assault, and was jailed for 10 years earlier this week.

Sarah was convinced that she was going to die during the savage attack in her apartment in Dublin’s Grand Canal Dock in July 2019.

The 29-year-old solicitor, who had left a window open and later woke to find Elghynaoui on her bed, said: “I didn’t know him.

“I woke up during the night and the first thing I realised was that there was this weight on my chest. I couldn’t really breath and there was something constricting my throat and there was that horror movie moment when I realised there was a man on top of me, a complete stranger.”

Sarah, who escaped momentarily down the corridor beside her bedroom, added: “There was a second violent struggle where he tried to again strangle my throat and stop me from screaming.”

The brave young woman fought back and managed to bite off a piece of his hand, which allowed her to get away, however, not before the aggravated sexual assault.

She said: “[It happened] essentially as I was running away and he rammed his hand up me basically.”

She grabbed her two housemates and they managed to raise the alarm and escape out a window before gardai arrived. Elghynaoui was tracked down shortly after the attack.

Now Sarah says she is “shocked to my core to see how victims are treated”.

She has suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and panic attacks and was supported by the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.

Speaking on RTE Radio 1’s Today with Claire Byrne show she told of how she found it “incredibly difficult” to navigate the system.

However, during the trial she successfully requested that a physical screen be installed in court so she could avoid having to see her attacker.

Sarah, who didn’t get a clear view of Elghynaoui during the attack, said: “I just really don’t want to put a face to the nightmares.”

And she also hit out at how her counselling notes became part of the trial, saying “that was the biggest shock of all”.

She added: “No other crime permits therapy notes to be used against a witness, particularly given the nature of a sexual offence.

“I think that is absolutely crazy and that is a legal provision that just needs to go, it’s just barbaric.”

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The solicitor has met with the Director of Public Prosecution’s office and has written to Justice Minister Helen McEntee to call for change.

She said: “Why are we putting sexual violence and rape victims through that kind of pressure when they’re just trying to survive after such a traumatic experience? It was worse than the attack.

“I do not want to dissuade anyone from going to court but there are things you should know.”

Source: Dublin News