I have been debating writing this for quite some time now but I think it’s time people heard my story. I have been advised against writing this post by those closest to me because it could change the way in which I’m viewed as an individual but I’ve held it in for far too long now. I Know everyone is going to have their own opinions and judgements but that’s just something I will have to deal with. I also know that I am likely going to get disowned by more family members because they can’t face the truth but here it goes.
So lets start off from the beginning. When I was just a little girl (I remember being 5 at the youngest but it could have happened sooner too) I was repeatedly raped by my Uncle Dean. I remember being as young as five because I remember it occurring in my little sisters push chair and she is 7 years younger than me. As I said I could have been younger than five but I can’t remember that far back. At first I didn’t think he was doing anything wrong because I was just a young child and didn’t know right from wrong but I would soon start learning about it in school and I quickly found out it was wrong. I was still scared to come forward and speak to anyone about this even though I knew it was wrong because I was scared of what would happen to me. I was brought up in a very neglected family and was abused both physically (violence) and mentally by my mother so I knew I couldn’t turn to her for comfort so I decided to bottle it all in. As many of you are aware bottling things in isn’t always a great thing to do but I had nothing else to do. I have had social workers in my life far as long as I can remember, I’ve had the NSPCC in my life and many other individuals and services that I could have went to talk to but in the end I was too scared because I knew that everything I said got repeated back to my mother and I would get hit, slapped or punched when I got home. So I told no one.
The sexual abuse used to happen every time my uncle Dean was babysitting. This was normally a Tuesday and Thursday when my mam and Nana went out to bingo and occasionally at the weekend when my mam went out drinking. I hated being alone in the same room with him so whenever I could I would try be out with my friends or try sleep out at a friends that night he was babysitting but he never let me. He wanted me all to himself. So 9pm came and it was time for me to come in. My two brothers and little sister would stay up for a bit longer before it was time for them to head to bed. I knew that once they had gone to bed it would start again. Biting his nails was just a little habit he used to have but I hated it because he used to do that right before he grabbed me, chucked me over the sofa and threw a towel/ blanket/ whatever was near him over my head so I couldn’t see anything. It was torture. Now I feel really uncomfortable whenever I am near someone who bites their nails. I know it’s a habit that many of us have but that image of that smug little **** sitting there has always stuck in my brain.
The thing that astonishes me the most is that no one saw anything. I still to this day refuse to believe that no one saw anything. He used to rape me in my bedroom where my sister would lie in the bed next to me. I would sometimes put her in my bed and fall asleep with her next to me hoping that when he walked into my room he wouldn’t do anything because I had my little sister lying next to me but I was wrong, he just moved her and placed her in her own bed which was next to mine. I never owned any curtains or blinds so I’m pretty sure someone walking by must have seen something as it’s pitch black at night and my light was on so people would have been able to see in. Sometimes I even thought/ wished my mam would see him so I didn’t have to deal with the pressure of telling her myself.
He wasn’t very careful sometimes either. I remember one time me, my 3 brothers and sister were playing hide and seek. I wanted to be on my sisters team but Dean insisted I was on his. He took me downstairs and said that, that was were we would build our fort. So once again I was alone in a room with him. He put me in this storage cupboard and threw a blanket over my head, you all know where it went from there. I didn’t care about what he was doing to me at this point though, all I could think about was what if my little 2-year-old sister (at the time) came down and saw this, what if this, what if that… fear was all I could feel in that moment because I knew that if we were caught I would feel as though it was my fault and I was so ashamed.
I was getting raped 2/3 times a week now, every week up until the age of 12. So that’s 7 or more years of my life that I was getting raped weekly. I learned just to bottle up my feelings and deal with it. I thought that, that was going to be my life. I wanted to go into care for some time but we never did until I was 12. I was so happy I couldn’t be out that house quick enough. I was more relieved to get my sister away from that house more than anything because god knows what he would have done to her now that I was out of the picture. My sister and two brothers stayed with my mam for a week after I went into care. All I could think about was getting out of that home and somewhere safe.
I never told my carers about any of this until I had lived with them for a few years and knew I could tell them my secret that was eating me up inside. They comforted me and immediately rang the police and then my social worker. Thing’s happened pretty quickly after that. I had to go into hospital so they could check for any scaring that may have occurred because I was just a child and he was a full-grown man. I then had to go into Bedlington police station to give a statement and then next thing I knew police were at my nana’s door and my uncle was in custody. It was all overwhelming but I had my carers there to support me through it all. I had to wait just over a year I think it was before the court hearing where I had to tell my story again and you will all be glad to hear that he got found guilty. I can’t remember all the charges but as soon as I find out I will upload a picture. That was the best day of my life. I was doing my A levels at the time of all of these court procedures so I did have to take a week off to be able to pull myself together and head back into school to do my exams etc and despite of all of this happening and all of the extra stress of school, I still managed to pass and get into University. I am now studying Health and Social Care and I am planning on doing a two years Masters in Social work so that I can help protect others against the cruel world we live in. I get a yearly letter now to remind me of the date in which he will be released (2022). That year is going to be the hardest year of my life. The year where I will fear for my life and what he might do to me if he ever saw me walking around the streets. I always get told I am going to be safe and protected by the police etc but there are hundreds of doubts and questions still in my mind. When he is out I don’t think I will ever feel safe again.
Not long after the court case when I was trying to focus on my life, I kept getting awful messages from my ‘Family’. My mam and nana and older brother were all attacking me on social media and sending me all of these hateful messages over Facebook messenger telling me that I was lying and I’ve portrayed the family and so on. This was the worst part about it. Unanswered questions were running through my mind like;
- How could my family do this to me
- If I was lying why is he currently in a jail cell serving 14 years (7 if he’s good)
- how could my actual mother disown me
- I’m her child, she chose her brother over her own child
- She brought me into this world, yet abandoned me first chance she got
This part of my life has effected me in so many ways. I don’t think I have severe mental health problems however, I know I have a few. I try act as normal as possible around older males but I just can’t, especially if I don’t know them that well. I hate being left alone in a room with an older male, I hate it when an older male offers me a hand shake or a hug (unless I know them personally or they’re my age). I just feel really uncomfortable when left alone with an older male therefore, I am constantly aware of what is going on around me. I used to constantly cover my body from head to toe as I didn’t like people seeing it. Going on holiday was the hardest for me as I was in a bikini and hated it. I used to always walk around with my arms up covering my chest and non existent boobs at the time because I felt like people were looking at me. I am better with this now and I wear what I want to wear and I wear it with confidence but I never used to be able to. I always felt as though my body was an object and I felt as though I was being used and then thrown to one side until he needed me again. I always felt as though I was dirty and constantly needed cleaned. I hated myself for not being brave enough to stop it sooner. The biggest mental health problem I have developed from all of this is paranoia. I am constantly paranoid that people are judging me and talking about me when I leave the room, I can’t even walk down the street without feeling like everyone driving past or walking past is judging me. I have tried speaking to someone about this twice now but speaking to a therapist just wasn’t for me. I tend to deal with things myself but I am aware that a lot of people like to talk to someone about it. Maybe I will go on to see a therapist in the future but for now I am happy trying to overcome these things myself. I am getting better at it as time goes on but I will always be aware of my surroundings.
I just want to thank my carers, my sisters carers, the family I still talk to and my friends for being there for me throughout all of this. It honestly means the world to Me and I just wanted you all to know that.
So there you have it. My story. I guess there’s nothing left to do but upload it now. I feel physically sick at the thought of uploading this and letting the world know my secret but I know deep down that I need to get my story out there and let others know that it’s okay to share your past and get things out in the open. If people leave your life after sharing such a traumatic experience then they Clearly weren’t meant to be in your life to begin with so are they really a loss?. I just hope that after my two younger brothers and sister read this they are open-minded to the situation and know that I got them away from the dangerous situation and I just want the best for them.
Love you all so, so much.
I have added some helplines below for anyone who is reading that have experienced sexual abuse. I know that you may not be ready to speak now but one day you will be able to. It took me years but here we are.
NHS Choices – Help after rape and sexual assault
Sexual Abuse Referral Centres – Find a SARC
Helpline: 0808 800 5000 (24 hours, every day)
Helpline: 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30 and 7-9:30)
Supportline: 0808 168 9111
RASAC (Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre)
Women Against Rape
The Survivors Trust
Helpline: 0808 801 0818
Women’s Aid Federation
Survivors UK – Male Rape and Sexual Abuse Support
Helpline: 0808 802 9999 (12-2.30 & 7-9.30)
Supportline: 0808 168 9111
NHS Choices – What should I do immediately after a sexual assault or rape?
Rape Crisis Network Europe