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Leona O'Callaghan - Founder of Haven Hub
Trigger Warning’ if you or someone you know has been affected by sexual abuse please remember the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre 24-hour Helpline is open 1800 77 8888
In today’s podcast (episode 29) we will be talking to Leona O Callaghan, founder of Haven Hub, a voluntary organisation opened in November 2019 and based in Limerick dealing with late night suicide prevention.
We speak to Leona who is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse about her decision to wave her anonymity in-order to name her rapist who received an 18-year sentence in 2018. She speaks openly and candidly about how her abuse has led to her repeated attempts at suicide, and how her children have also been strongly impacted by her abuse.
Leona speaks about why she was driven to organise a number of events around sexual violence like ‘The Red Shoe Event’ for women who have lost their lives through violence. Leona is a strong advocate for survivors’ rights and in May 2019 Leona spoke before the Bar of Ireland’s Conference ‘Laws and Effects’ in Co. Laois alongside running ‘The Clothes Don’t Rape Exhibition’ to highlight the problems with our justice system and how victims are revictimized during court cases.
Leona’s passion and commitment to support other victims of sexual violence led to her opening Irelands first ‘Survivors Support Anonymous 12 Step Programme’ a peer led support group. We talk about the difficulties in running support groups aimed at survivors of sexual trauma and how she has designed a programme focused on improving participants lives through providing appropriate tools to help them move forward with hope.
You would not be blamed for thinking that this interview would be hard listening and maybe even fall into feeling sorry for Leona. But we can honestly say that listening to Leona telling her story you will not leave this interview with any of those concerns. Leona is a strong, formidable woman who demonstrated to us all that speaking out can bring you from a dark place into a hopeful future.
Joyce, June and Paula