Content Warning: Please be aware that some of the stories on these pages contain details and descriptions of abuse which you might find disturbing or upsetting.
This is extremely hard to talk about, still, to this day ….. but I want to try and share my story with you to help raise awareness of the failings of the justice system and how it has failed me. How it has nearly destroyed me.
The police didn’t believe me and as good as told me it was my fault so my abuser got away with it, and this needs to change!
Anyway, here it goes.
Not long before my 6th birthday my mum met a man with who she got into a serious relationship, they got married and I would call him my stepdad. My biological dad wasn’t in my life from very early on as he was extremely violent to both me and my mum, even when I was a baby. There was a court order against him and it was then my decision if I wanted to see him when I was 18 – I didn’t. He has now passed away, along with my mum who I sadly lost in 2017.
I looked up to my stepdad initially and we were close. He had 2 sons of his own, who I obviously began to call my stepbrothers. The youngest son sexually abused me from the age of 6 up until I was 11.
I remember the first night it happened so clearly. It’s imprinted in my mind and never leaves me. My stepbrother was staying with us at the time as he was homeless. At that time I didn’t know it was abuse or wrong as such, because I was little more than a baby, just 6 years old!
One night there was an England match on the TV but my mum and stepdad weren’t watching it. When I was younger I was really into football, and I had got that from my grandad and my cousins who all loved football, so my stepbrother came and put the England match on the TV in my bedroom.
He climbed onto my bed with me, and he was kind of laid behind me and I was lent back on him if that makes sense and then he just slid his hand down my pyjama shorts and that was the first time he began to touch me inappropriately.
I felt confused and I wasn’t sure what to do or what was really happening as I was so young, but it all started off from there, where he would touch me in places that I didn’t want to be touched. It then went on to him making me touch him and watch him play with himself.
And then the night came where he had sex with me, just a vulnerable 6 year old child. He was someone I had looked up to, someone I trusted!!!
He would tell me constantly “no one would believe me” and say “this is our little secret” so I kept quiet for many years, kept it to myself and didn’t really understand what was happening or what was being done to me.
It then went on from there really and his abuse of me continued up until I was around the age of 11, when eventually my mum and stepdad split up. If they had stayed together I believe it would of continued on for many more years.
My stepdad began to get quite violent every now and again towards my mum, and one night when they had both been out drinking she came back and came into my room in tears. She actually hid under my bunk bed through fear from him and she pleaded with me to not make a sound and to pretend to be asleep.
I clearly remember being terrified and him throwing a knife at me and my mum as we stood at the top of the stairs. The knife stuck into the step below the one we were standing on, just missing us. Another time I remember him pulling me into him to throw me into a fence and scream a load of abuse in my face along with telling me he would throw me down the stairs.
My mum had already been through lots of abuse with my biological father and she refused to put us through it again and finally, we managed to get away. That became my escape route from my abuser!!
When we moved away I started at a new primary school and went onto high school. I was doing well but then one day, completely out of the blue, my stepbrother (my abuser) messaged me through Facebook. He admitted abusing me but also told me that I had asked for it, along with many other vile things too terrible to talk about.
My teachers began to realise that something was very wrong because during school I was beginning to get out of control. They knew me well enough by then to know something was up, and this was out of character for me.
It wasn’t until I was almost 15 though when I finally plucked up the courage to tell a teacher of my sexual abuse. My main reason for speaking up was because on reading my abuser's Facebook profile I discovered that his brother now had a little girl of his own and there were lots of photos of my abuser with her. I was scared that he would be doing the same to that little girl as he had done to me.
Even then, after all those years, I still couldn’t say the actual words that I was “sexually abused”. It made me feel revolting so I wrote it down on a piece of paper and gave it to the teacher I trusted most in the whole school.
When I handed it over I completely broke down and sobbed and sobbed in her office, I pleaded and begged her not to tell my mum because I felt so ashamed even though I know now that I had done nothing to be ashamed of! My teacher promised me that she wouldn’t share my secret but obviously, she had a duty of care and she had to inform my mum.
When I got home my mum knew, and she just broke down and wanted to talk about it, and what had happened, and when and how and everything else. But I just couldn’t, I wasn’t ready, and out of panic I actually hit out at her, horrible as that sounds.
I regret it so much and have to live with the guilt of that to this day, but I believed by hitting her that I would be arrested and taken out of that situation and so I wouldn’t have to talk about it. It was a way to avoid my abuse, to run away from it again. I felt too ashamed and thought my mum wouldn’t believe me.
I was in and out of trouble with the police for many different things as a teenager growing up. I didn’t like myself and blamed myself for my sexual abuse. I’ve been on drugs, I’ve drank myself stupid to block out the pain and I’ve went completely off the rails because I just didn’t know how to deal with it all and the drink and the drugs masked my true feelings and let me hide from them...
When my school informed the police of my rape, I didn’t want to tell them anything either. I was terrified, scared of what they would say or do. But a few weeks later in spite of my fear, I finally gave in to the pressure, and I went in to be interviewed in the police station.
I was in a total panic but I had all the messages my abuser had sent because I had printed them off from the library to give to the police too.
That interview was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do but during my interview with them, I was made to feel like a complete liar, a burden, and ashamed. I was spoken to like utter shit I was made to relive the whole event in great detail to then be told that if I basically had any skin on show when my stepbrother abused me then I had basically asked for it. Because I possibly had a pair of pyjama shorts on it was my fault!! At 6 years old!! It made me feel sick.
I broke down and felt completely defeated and wondered why I had bothered to speak up. My abuser was right after all. No one will believe me.
The detective/inspector in charge of my case was actually lovely and he was the only one that said he believed me. He also said that they couldn’t prove the IP address so the messages were completely useless and because I had reported the abuse a good few years after it happened my abuser got away with it anyway.
It broke me
I can't move on from it properly to this day.
I have flashbacks still.
It will always be in the back of my mind,
I often wonder, hope and pray that no other little girl or boy has experienced abuse at the hands of him.
But he is free.
He is still out there!
I have however managed to get my life back on track in some ways. I haven’t been in any trouble with the police for over 7 years now. I only drink on special occasions. The drugs I am also done with.
I was my mum's carer for many years afterwards right up until she passed away, and I’ve been working in the care sector for the past 6 and a half years too!
Over the years I’ve worked with adults with learning difficulties, dementia, palliative care etc and I’m working in a nursing home at the moment.
I love it, and I’m proud of myself and where I have got to today in spite of what happened to me when I was a little girl.
My abuser took away my childhood completely.
He took away my virginity, my trust in people and a lot more but it no longer defines who I am today.
I am strong, I am a survivor!!!
Thank you for taking the time to read my story
Please note, our team are taking a short break over Christmas as will not be checking emails regularly. We'll respond once we are back on Tuesday 3rd January. Thank you for understanding.
© Copyright 2023 Maggie Oliver Foundation | CIO REG: 1185267