Abuse survivor Shaneda tells harrowing story in new book

Shaneda Daly

A SHANNON woman who was abused from the age of four by her father, a former Limerick prison officer, is this week releasing a book about her ordeal.

Shaneda Daly’s harrowing account  reveals how her father,  Harry Daly, sexually abused her almost every day from the age of four, often when her mother and siblings were in the same house.

Her book, ‘Sins of the Father,’ details a childhood of beatings and sexual abuse which haunted her into adulthood and continued even after her marriage and the arrival of her children.

Shaneda told the Limerick Post that writing the book with ghost writer, Linda Watson-Brown was “horrific at the time but in the end it was the most therapeutic thing I could do.”

The mother of six says she spoke to the ghost writer for three years after being approached to write the book.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

In the book, Shaneda describes years of abuse, an abortion when she discovered she was pregnant with her father’s child, and the severe mental health issues she suffered as a result of it all.

“I wanted to speak out about all of the issues. People don’t understand how the grooming takes you over completely.  The abuser owns you – I thought he loved me, that I was special – his Princess. I thought this was what happens in every family,” she said.

Shaneda said her father “never gave me a minute’s peace,” abusing her even when other people were in the family home.

He even tried to abuse her again when she was an adult and while three of her children were in the same house.

“Even though I was never told not to tell, I’d just lie. I was afraid of my father being taken to prison.”

The family also suffered violently at her father’s hands and Shaneda says her mother, Rose, was once beaten so badly they thought he had killed her.

At 17 she moved out of home to escape the abuse. She first reported it to gardaí around this time. Her father moved out of the house to seek therapy but moved back in after a year.

Shaneda pressed charges against her father in 2010 and Harry Daly pleaded guilty to 227 sample charges of rape, indecent assault and sexual assault against her between February 1982 and November 1992, when she was aged between six and 17 years old.

She waived her right to anonymity at the trial because she said she wanted her father to be named and his abuse exposed.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2011 with five years suspended and released in 2018.

Shaneda’s mother turned her back on her and her grandchildren and now lives with the father who abused her.

“Having members of my family turn against me and not believe me was almost as bad as the abuse,” she said.

In her book, Shaneda describes how she suffered severe depression after her father went to prison, but while her abuser received counselling and therapy, she struggled on. 

In the last ten years the mother of six has pushed for change, taking part in media interviews and speaking at conferences.

She has also set up a Facebook page ‘Survivors Side by Side.”

She has no qualms about how the book will put her in the spotlight or whether it will result in unwelcome attention in Shannon for her children.

“All along I have had amazing support from the people in Shannon. No one has ever made one negative remark to my kids.”