Rape survivor Bláthnaid Raleigh hopes to be source of ‘inspiration and consolidation’

Johnathan Moran has been jailed for eight years for the attack.
Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

13.06 5 Jul 2024

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Rape survivor Bláthnaid Raleig...

Rape survivor Bláthnaid Raleigh hopes to be source of ‘inspiration and consolidation’

Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

13.06 5 Jul 2024

Share this article

A rape survivor has highlighted the lack of support she received from the “younger male” demographic after her case concluded.

Bláthnaid Raleigh from Mullingar was raped after a night out in Galway in 2019 and thanked her “very supportive family” for helping her through the time before the case went to trial.

Johnathan Moran, a 26-year-old from Mullingar, was found last month guilty of rape and aggravated sexual assault and has been jailed for eight years.


Ms Raleigh described initially perceiving her attacker as a “very typical guy” before the assault.

“He was 21 when he committed this crime, he’s a young guy, he had a job,” she told the Pat Kenny Show.

“He played rugby, had a social circle, and presented as a very typical guy; he wasn’t this creepy old man lurking in the bushes.”

Lack of support

She emphasised the importance of recognising that potential perpetrators of rape “live among us” and are “in our peer groups”.

“Not everyone is capable of committing these crimes, but I think we all need to have a little bit of a conversation with ourselves and think,” she said.

“I found in the aftermath there was a sort of silence from the younger male demographic.

“I think it's important to highlight the effects of this and what it does to lives and to call it out to prompt everyone to have that conversation with themselves.”

Rape survivor Bláthnaid Raleigh notes lack of support from 'young males' Shop street in Galway city. Image: Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo

On the day of the attack in July 2019, Ms Raleigh had travelled to Galway for the Arts Festival with a friend when they encountered Mr Moran and others from their hometown.

“We didn’t know them well but knew them from Mullingar, and it was a very normal night; drinks were flowing, and we were in and out of the smoking area,” she said.


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'A different person arrived'

She was then invited back to a party at an Airbnb where some of the group were staying, including Mr Moran, and still felt “very comfortable in the situation” up to that point.

“Then it was just myself and Johnny Moran left downstairs in the house and at that stage, the night changed,” said Ms Raleigh.

“He got up to turn off the lights, and it was like with the flick of that switch; a different person arrived in the room.

“He went from a normal guy to someone who was very hostile, intimidating, and dark.”

Crotty The Criminal Courts of Justice, building in Parkgate Street, Dublin. Image: noel bennett / Alamy Stock Photo

Ms Raleigh said she agreed to go outside for a cigarette with the attacker in an attempt to “relax” the situation.

They entered a shed in the garden, which Mr Moran immediately locked and where he committed aggravated sexual assault and rape on Ms Raleigh over the next ten minutes.

The assault was interrupted when other people staying at the Airbnb came into the garden for a cigarette, and Ms Raleigh managed to escape.

She was assisted in finding a Garda Station by a couple of strangers on a street in Galway and reported the incident. When Gardaí located the Airbnb, DNA evidence was secured that proved vital in the trial.


Bláthnaid Raleigh’s “immediate fear” is now gone but she said that elements of the attack “will stay with me forever”.

She is now urging people to support charities like the Dublin and Tullamore Rape Crisis Centres, organisations which she described as providing “amazing support” to her since the attack.

If you or someone you know has been affected by the content of this interview, you can contact the Rape Crisis Centre's 24-hour helpline on 1800 777 888 or the Samaritans at 116123.

You can listen back here:

Main image: Rape survivor Bláthnaid Raleigh in Newstalk studios today.

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