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.
Everybody thought he was gay, but I didn't. Not by the way he looked at me or by the way would brush past me and called me "beautiful". My mum's friend was helping out a lot as we had just moved home from being in a hostel and had given my step dad a job working for him.
I had recently applied to audition for a show and he offered to lend me a book that had helpful notes in. He came to drop it off on a summer afternoon and I was in and out of the paddling pool with my little sister. When my mum was out of sight he told me how beautiful I was. I remember feeling a little shy but it also felt nice because he would often tell me when we would pass in a few seconds of just us how beautiful I was. Comments and the little physical touches here and there carried on over the next two years, it's safe to say I developed a little crush on him. When I was fourteen, I remember auditioning for another show and he said he had another lot of notes and he would meet me in the local club to give it to me. I went but was a little early and my mum had told me I needed to be home so I left my number with the lady behind the bar and asked if she could pass it on so he could let me know when he could get it to me again.
That night when I was in bed I heard my phone beep and it was a text from a number I didn't recognize. "YOU WILL BE PLEASED TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE THE WALLPAPER ON MY PHONE." I had no idea what it meant or who it was so upon asking he said it was him and that he had taken photos when I wasn't looking and that he has them as his wallpaper because I am beautiful and that we are spiritually connected because his late mum had the same birthday as myself. We messaged each other into the early hours, he was telling me that he had liked me for a long time but he wasn't sure if I liked him back to which I responded that I did.
Messages were exchanged back and forth and he started to call me when I was in bed at night. He soon asked if we could meet and we went for a walk up the common at the back or my mum's house. He held my hand and I remembered feeling nervous but excited. We stopped at a little bridge and he asked if he could kiss me. I said I didn't know because I hadn't done it before. He said he would show me and so I did. I really remember the strong smell of old spice aftershave and tobacco. He was a 42 year old smoker and frequent drinker. When we walked back he asked me to sit in his car for 5 minutes, where he kissed me again but began to touch inside my thighs. I remember he squeezed me quite hard and I said ouch. He stopped but he seemed so flustered and started to kiss me quite roughly. I opened the door and said I had to go home. He later apologized and said it was because he was in love with me and he just felt like he couldn't stop himself because of how strong our connection was.
I continued to meet him for little walks in quiet places after school or in the evenings; I'd tell my mum I was at after school study clubs or at a friend's. This carried on for a few months until he started to ask me if I loved him. I didn't know. I know at the time he didn't treat me like a child. We were equal and he said as soon as I was 16 he would show the world. But he also said I would need to become a real girlfriend before we could do that. By this he meant sex. I said I wasn't sure and that I was a bit scared about it. He promised he would be gentle and that I would like it. He told me a date and time (a date and time that each year anxiously still awaits me). I was there. He took me to his house. The house had a musty smell to it and I can still smell it now if I close my eyes it takes me back to that place.
He took me to a bedroom and said to get undressed and get in. I did. I remember laying there wondering if I was supposed to shave down below or not and the fact I hadn't made me nervous. He soon told me that a real woman would shave because he liked to see it. It was an awkward few moments, kissing and other things. I just followed but he started to push my head down below. I hadn't even give that a second thought and I don't mean in that moment I mean ever. I kept pulling away but he forced it down to the point I was sick a little from choking. He said he was sorry but that it was a normal thing to do. He then climbed on top. It hurt but it wasn't awful pain. It wasn't an enjoyment for me. It was just what it was but uncomfortable.
My head was still stuck in about 5 minutes ago and I couldn't get over what had just happened. If that was normal then I didn't want to know what was normal and I certainly didn't want to be doing it. Straight after he hid me in the back of the car under a blanket and dropped me off in a nearby road a short walk from home. I called my best friend and told her everything. She was the only person that knew everything and I made her promise not to tell anyone as he was constantly telling me that we would both be arrested if he was caught. He told me that my sister and I would go into a new home because my mum didn't look after me properly and she was a young mum so she would have a new family soon. This really upset me and the thought of anything happening to my mum or my sister or just being away from them really hurt me so I just continued.
I began to dread the days he wanted to meet because I knew he wanted to have sex. He started to talk about not using condoms because he wanted a family as soon as I was 16 so I secretly went to the doctor's and got contraception. That wasn't easy but I needed to and so I just said I had heavy periods.
I remember once during that time being in his house and opening a cupboard to find lots of pictures of me and a pile of what looked like to me, a bunch of used condoms. It was later confirmed that this is what it was. Over the next few months I began to feel what he was doing was wrong. My best friend was telling me it wasn't ok and he shouldn't be saying the things he was, I also knew that I had been telling him I was sore down below and he would still expect sex.
We had some mutual friends, a girl that was a few years older than me was with an older man, who I thought was totally odd but I liked her so that's what counted. I arranged to stay over one weekend, we were going to have a few alchopops and watch some films. I assumed the boyfriend would be busy or out. Later in the evening her boyfriend came back. With him. I was a little in disbelief. I felt sick and it was then I knew I didn't want to do it anymore. I wanted him to leave but also knew I couldn't tell anyone. When my friend went to bed she said he was staying on the sofa. I was in a spare room. Within seconds my phone went off and it was a text asking me to come downstairs. I pretended to be asleep and not reply. A few minutes later he came up and slipped in next to me. He said to me he had special knickers on just for me. They were women's black silk knickers. I had no idea why he would wear women's underwear. I thought it was odd but decided not to question it. He said he loved me and that it was time for the next thing in our relationship. I couldn't think what... He then said he wanted to show me what anal sex was like.
I remember like it happened 5 minutes ago. I said no. But he just turned me over and said to sssshhhh. We would wake the others up. The pain. It was excruciating. It seemed to go on forever but when he was done I went to the loo. I thought I'd had an accident. It was actually blood. I felt sick and just sat there crying. I wanted to go home. I wanted to call my mum. Or my grandad. But I thought of the things he said and there was no way I'd let anything happen to my mum or my sister.
The next day I sent him a text message when I was at school and told him I didn't want to do anything more and that I wanted it back like before when he was a friend. He called. I ignored it. He called my best friend, I can't remember why I had shared her number but must have been for some reason. He told her he had a gun in his mouth and that he was about to kill himself. She told me. I said I don't care. He said before he would kill himself he would find my sister and do all the things he did with me to her. Angers me now to think I fell for this but I'd do anything to protect my sister so I reluctantly agreed to carry on. Making my best friend promise again not to say anything.
Again, the meetings would continue in exchange for the promise of not touching my sister or my mum being taken away from us.
I remember one particular meeting he took me to some old barns not too far from my Nans house. I started to say no and so he bit my thigh. I still have the mark there today as he bit and tore skin away. And so I continued again through the pain.
He would pick me up in his Jaguar (various models) and sneak me into places.
When he didn't see me for a few days he would follow me.
One time I was at the cinema in Weymouth (not the closest cinema I'd usually go to), and as I left after watching the film with a friend I caught his eye when passing the back seats. I could not believe that he had followed me to the cinema all that way. How did he even know? I was having a sleepover that night and been ignoring his messages. I had an opportunity where I knew he couldn't just show up. My friend did not know the situation and so I couldn't say anything but he glared at me as I walked past pretending not to recognise him in the dark.
For the rest of the night I would keep looking out the window, I couldn't eat my dinner because I was too busy looking past my friends mum to the back garden where you could see just past the fence and was waiting to see head just over the fence. Thankfully he never showed, or if he did then I didn't see.
This continued to be my life, grabbing me at any opportunity when my mum wasnt looking. "Looks" at my sister as if a reminder that she was next if I called it all off.
One day we were in his barn one afternoon after school and I had reached the point of not only anger and upset but resentment. I had began to hate him and he would repulse me. The strong overwhelming smell of Old Spice and leather would engulf me and I'd sometimes have to force myself not to gag. Something I struggle with today if I pass someone wearing the aftershave.
I decided to tell him that I fancied someone at school. I didn't. But I wanted to see if he would see that I'm a child and this would not work. He fobbed it off and laughed. He said that it would be a boy and not a man and that they would soon get bored. I'm not experienced enough yet. He asked me to wash my hands so as I turned to do so, he pushed my face down into the dirty dishwater. He did it twice and it was over quickly. He made me promise I'd never look at anyone else, I was scared and in shock so I just agreed. Again this continued for some time.
Over the year of when I had turned 15, I had made a few friends and occasionally would go out for walks or food or one drove and we would sometimes just sit in his car in the car park. One evening we were facing the road and I saw his car slowly pass. He turned and looked at me as he passed. I wasn't sure if he had seen me or not but I shortly got a message to say if I was able to sit on the streets I could have seen him and he could have kept me warm.
I replied and told him I didn't want to see him. He reminded me that me and his deceased mum had shared the same birthday so this was always meant to be, that would never change.
I said I did not want to see him again and that if he loved me he would not want to hurt me or my family. He said he would call me when I was not around anyone else. I felt scared, on edge, anxious about what if he did touch my sister? What if he popped round now? I started to panic and asked my friend to drop me home. I became increasingly upset, my friend kept asking me what was wrong. And there it was.... I blurted it all out. And cried. And cried. I didn't want him to touch me ever again, I didn't want to see him around every corner. My friend just cuddled me and he told me not to worry about anything. He told me to go home and have an early night and we would catch up the next day.
Later on in the night, my phone went off a few times but that was not unusual, I glanced to see it was him and I wasn't going to open them but I saw they were images so wondered what they were of. He sent me pictures of his face. He had a badly bruised face and cut lip.
I couldn't understand what had happened, I immediately replied asking what happened and he said "You tell me". I put my phone down and my heart started to race. It couldn't have been my friend? I tried to call him but no reply. I went to sleep and off to school in the morning.
When I was at school I told my best friend what had happened and she was pleased but I knew didn't know anything.
When I got home there was a knock at the door. My mum answered and she brought the man in a suit and professional looking lady in to our front room. I instantly knew it was the police, I could feel my heart exploding and feeling like I was going to be sick.
They explained to my mum that 3 boys had attacked him last night when he drove home from the pub. My mum was worried and upset because it was her friend. They asked me if I knew anything and I said no. I didn't.
They then said they had spoken to the boys arrested for it and they had told the police exactly why they did it. My mum's face...... I can see it now and it hurts. She was heartbroken. I watched her crumble and felt like I had just ended her world. She hugged me and told me she loved me and it was not my fault. She's always told me this but I'll forever hold guilt for hurting my mum who did nothing to deserve any of it. My mum had had such a rough time and was just back on her feet, my step dad was his employee.
The next few months was full of interviews and constant looks and questions. The small village I'm from were gossiping in all corners and it was hard. I would sometimes go to a karaoke night in Swanage on a Sunday and he never went before, but he went one day when he was not allowed anywhere near me, I also had my sister with me and as he walked past he tripped on my sister's foot and started shouting at her calling her name's. Some local men had to escort him out of the building and called the police to ensure I was safe. I still felt I couldn't go anywhere as he would be there.
When I got home from school one day, there was bad taste bear at the bottom of the garden which had its penis out. I didn't find it funny and put the note in the bin. I didn't even read it I just saw my name.
It went to court. I had to testify behind a screen. The cross examination was awful. Its sad that any victim has to be subjected to that but I understand why. He was found guilty on 9 counts. He was extremely cocky and did not believe he was going to prison. He even got villagers to sign a petition to take to court to say that he was a reputable man and this was all lies, but all the evidence was right there.
He was sentenced to 4 and a half years. I did not attend court for the verdict, but I remember being with my auntie and feeling so much weight lifted off. I had been having it hard at school as a few of his friends had been teachers there, and one was the child protection person. He was very nasty to me and kept trying to take me off for interviews, luckily my mum was informed and she went in and was really not happy. He had to apologise but I felt like it wasn't enough. My maths teacher happened to be a good friend and they moved me classes. I told them how he had told me that my teacher marked the girls boob growth out of ten and would tell his mates who had "grown". No one took it very seriously though....
I started to move on with my life, but for some reason before he went to prison he said to me that he would be back for me one day. I fear that when I'm not expecting it he will appear and he will take me home. I know it was probably to scare me, but the consequences for me have been that I developed a debilitating condition which is due to my childhood abuse and the trauma it has caused me…..
It’s unbelievable how something so traumatic that happened to me as a child came out in such a life altering disability as an adult.
So I had my second child and just 4 weeks after he born, my husband was at work and I was at home with my daughter and newborn. I was on the phone to my mother in law, and I noticed my words started to slur. It was 4pm and she joked that I'd been drinking. I definitely hadn't. Then my left arm began to feel week and I had to put my baby down. My MIL called my husband and they called an ambulance.
It turned out I had suffered from a functional stroke. It took me a few weeks to be able to get home but I had very limited use of my left side and was given a wheelchair and other aids. As a family, we struggled immensely. We had 2 young children between us and my husband has 2 from previous relationship, and my husband had no choice than to take time off to look after me and our children.
A few months later, my husband went away for the night with my newborn so I could have a night with my daughter. I was able to get about slowly by then and my daughter was a very easy going toddler thankfully ☺️!
That night I got up to get some water at about 1am. We lived in a 3 floor, 4 bedroom house and my room was at the top, my daughter had slept with me. I remember being a little hot and dizzy as I walked but thought it'd pass, but the next thing I remember I woke up to my daughter standing next to me calling my name. It was 6am, so I had been there for 5 hours. I had a bloodied nose, carpet burns all down the side of my face and chin, and carpet burns to the side of my body.
When I got to hospital, I passed out again and then a further 6 or 7 times.
While they carried out further testing, I spent the next 6 weeks in a hospital bed, not able to use the toilet without 2 nurses, some that didn't have the time would just hand me bed pans.
I wasn't allowed to eat or drink alone, I couldn't see my children because it was too heartbreaking for me and for them to leave. I knew my daughter would really struggle. Even the video calls became difficult...
They eventually diagnosed me with FUNCTION NEUROLOGICAL DISORDER. (FND).
To cut a long story short, it's like being a computer. You have your computer (your physical body) and your software (your brain and how it works). The software isn't working. The messages your brain is sending to your body parts isn't working and that's why my left side is so weak and not working at all at times. Then when the brain goes into overdrive because its so overwhelmed that it shuts down.
FND is caused by various traumas, where the brain hasn't been able to process anything and so it sort of floods later when it reaches breaking point. This is what causes me to pass out, Or to have a non epileptic seizure as they are called.
It might not sound horrific and I always consider myself lucky that it is not epilepsy or anything more serious, however this has had a massive impact on my life. And not only my life but on the lives of my family too, and is as a result of my childhood trauma and abuse.
We were made homeless in November of the same year because the rent was put up and my husband had been sacked due to time off to look after us. We were placed all over Christmas in hotels and temporary accommodation. We couldn't travel because we couldn't afford to and I was in a wheel chair. It didn't fit in the car. We live 3 hours away so we don't have any family in the area.
It was one of the hardest times for us as a family and as husband and wife. To say we nearly didn't make it was an understatement. Its like a domino effect. Even now, although we are lucky to have a roof over our heads, we are in two bedroom house and our youngest is still in our room as its the only place he will fit. Health visitors have advised it is not safe for him to be in there but we have no choice. We were OK before the stroke and my FND diagnosis.
Not only have I missed out on so much, we lost our home, our memories have been taken, and now again we are struggling with housing which leads to the symptoms of my condition to deteriorate and flair up.
The impact of abuse, no matter how long ago it happened, can hit you when you least expect it. All I ever wanted was to be able to be the best Mummy and I even felt like I failed at that.
And the cause... the childhood sexual abuse. Or the abuser. Whichever way you want to look at it.... and the consequences will be with me forever. And that is a difficult fact to come to terms with, especially as I am still a young woman with a young family to raise.
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