A woman whose life spiralled out of control after she was repeatedly raped by her brother has recalled the horrifying moment she discovered her son was also abused by the same man.
Karen (not her real name) claims she was only 11 years old when her older brother began sexually abusing her in the bedroom he shared with his other siblings in the family home outside Enniskillen.
She has spoken of her utter revulsion at finding out years later that her son was also sexually abused for several years from the age of eight by her brother. Such was the impact of the abuse that her son turned to drink and drugs as he could see no other way out.
She claims she knows of up to nine other victims of the same man and says that both she and her son reported the abuse to the Police Service of Northern Ireland in 2013 and 2014 but both cases were dropped due to “insufficient evidence”.
Karen has chosen to speak out now after two men gave interviews to The Impartial Reporter in which they revealed how they had been sexually abused in Enniskillen over 30 years ago.  
Indeed, several victims of child sex abuse in Fermanagh have contacted this newspaper in the past seven days with a string of shocking claims and information. 
It’s also understood the PSNI has received information in the last week about historical sex abuse in the county.  
Karen, now 50 with children of her own, cuts a lonesome figure. She suffers from mental and physical illness; the pain of what she experienced is still etched on her face. 
She recalls when it first started, where it took place, she even remembers the colour of the bedsheets. Brown. Everything was brown almost 40 years ago. Her brother, then 15, slept in a double bed with his sibling.
“I can still see the big room, the double bed, the single bed. I can remember the brown bed spread, brown blankets, the walls were papered but there was one wall that had gloss paint. There was one window with brown curtains and a net curtain. The carpet was brown as well.
“And then it all started. I was 11 when my brother called me into his bedroom to give me a cigarette.  He asked me to touch him,” said Karen. The detail of this encounter cannot be published.
“I remember it was light outside, it was still evening time. The rest of the family were outside, my parents were in the other room. When it was over I left the room feeling sick and going to the bathroom to scrub my hands. I still feel sick at the thought of it,” she said.
The abuse would last for four years. 
Karen’s father was a violent alcoholic and she feared him. When she was being abused in her brother’s bedroom her parents were in another room in the bungalow unaware of the wickedness occurring down the hall. 
“Dad would have been outside fixing cars. They were always within the home when the abuse was going on. I was sick, I was afraid, I was terrified that they’d think it was me who was doing wrong. I was worried that I was going to be beaten up so I didn’t say anything.
“This became a pattern over the years. He told me that it would be me that would be beaten if I told my parents. 
“He kept giving me cigarettes, then money and alcohol. There were other incidents, too, where I would lock my bedroom door but he would open it from the outside,” she said.
When she got older she would raise her voice, shouting “what do you want?” as he stood behind the door. Then he would leave, worried that someone in the family would hear the commotion. 
Eventually, recalls Karen, the abuse stopped. “It stopped because he had other innocent children in his grasp,” she claims. 
“He always stayed in houses where there were children. He would befriend the parents and come across as the guy that was so funny, a guy who could babysit.
“I know there are other victims because they told me. A young woman came to me; she cried and told me she had been abused by him too,” she said. 
In 2013 Karen reported the abuse to police in Enniskillen but the case did not proceed due to “insufficient evidence”. 
Karen says she felt shame and locked those thoughts away. 
Until the day she discovered her own son had been abused by the same man.
“It eats away at you like a cancer. Just imagine your heart being ripped from your chest and getting physically sick and not knowing where to turn when your own child tells you they were abused by the same person. Hearing that opened a door that was locked for 30 odd years.”
Karen brought her son to police in Omagh in 2014 but, again, her case was dropped.
“My son took a meltdown. He went crazy, he took drugs. He has tried to take his own life three times. It has destroyed his life.
“This is my child, the most precious bundle that you are supposed to protect. As a lioness would do for her cubs I felt like ripping the abuser apart, I still feel that way.”
Karen says her alleged abuser is now living near children and has reported this claim to social services. As he has not been found guilty of any crime nothing could be done.
She continued: “The justice system is wrong. I feel that I am unimportant, that my feelings don’t count and nor do the feelings of my children count. I feel I am invisible. I would like my abuser to be put behind bars to save other children. 
“I have chosen to speak out because of Brian’s story in last week’s Impartial Reporter. It triggered something in me, that maybe if I get my story out there it might help someone. 
“To anyone reading this who may have been abused; please get help, please go to the police, get the help you need,” said Karen, during an emotionally charged interview with this newspaper. 

NEED HELP? Nexus NI offers counselling and support to people over 16 who are survivors of sexual abuse, victims of sexual violence including those who have experienced rape and sexual assault. 
For further information visit www.nexusni.org or to make an appointment contact the Enniskillen office on 028 66 32 0046.

If, like 'Karen’, you feel strong enough to share your story or information about sex abuse in Fermanagh e-mail redwards@impartialreporter.com or phone 028 66 32 44 22. 
All conversations or correspondence will be treated in the strictest of confidence.