I was just an ordinary 9-year-old girl that liked doing things that kids at that age would do. I had three sisters and lots of friends. I had started my morning like every other day. Got up, washed, put my uniform on had breakfast and my mom walked me to school. It was a cold and bitter morning January 11, 1997.
I was in primary 5 I was doing great in school worked hard and my homework was always in on time. My favourite subject was p.e. I loved sports and I was a member of numerous clubs inside and outside of school including art. Art was like a sense of calmness the feeling when painting or drawing would take any worries I had away.
I was sitting in my class just after lunch time 1.10pm to be precise when I noticed the principal knocking at the door to speak to my teacher. The mischievous classmates started to mess around as soon as the teacher had left the room. The teacher had entered the room again and had asked me to go to the principal’s office with him. At this stage I was scared I had thoughts going through my head what did I do? Was I not learning like I should? I knew I didn’t have an appointment with the doctors or dentist as my mom would come to the classroom herself. This was something different I knew something was wrong!
As I walked to the top school the principal asked me a few questions…Do I like football and am I enjoying school. The last thing I remember was him telling me he was a big fan of Manchester United. In my head, I was thinking why is he asking me these silly questions and more importantly why do I have to go out of class. He told me to get into his car that he had to take me to collect my sister at her secondary school. When we arrived, my sister got into the car and asked me what’s wrong. I just shrugged my shoulders and said I don’t know they won’t tell me anything.
We arrived at my grandmothers. I remember walking into the living room and there was a lot of people. All relatives, I heard one person say to me your moms died. I thought I had died at that moment in time until I seen my mother sitting with her hands on her face crying in hysterics. The feeling of relief to see my mom was the most amazing feeling in the world. Although to my knowledge it was actually my dad who had died!
My mom and dad had been separated for a few years but we got to go to his flat where he lived with my older sister every Saturday from 11 am to 6pm. He would take us shopping and would spoil us. The days we played video games and throwing money on the floor to see who could get it closest to the wall to win the money is the last memories I have of him. Never in my life did I think I would never be able to see my dad ever again.
My dad had gone out with a few friends that night he died. My sister who lived with him had stayed at my grandmothers it was her night to look after her. My dad had come home from the pub and lit a cigarette and fallen asleep. He died that night from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Our lives went downhill when he died. My sister 4 years older than me had a lot of issues. It was very hard for her she would get into a lot of trouble with the police. Until one day my mom couldn’t take it anymore and had put her into a children’s home. My sister that lives with my dad was blaming herself for his death because she could’ve been there to save him that night. My mom had to stay strong for her daughters and tried her very best every day to help us all.
A few months later something had happened I didn’t think anything could get any worse than losing my dad. My life was turned upside down. I came home from school when a social worker sitting in the living room waiting to speak to me. My instincts were that my mom wanted to put in in a children’s home as well. Although that wasn’t the reason she was there. She introduced herself and said she was from social services. To me as a 9-year-old I didn’t know what that was. So, she began by taking out a notepad and pen and started to ask me questions and jotting them all down. Questions that no mother would wish her child to be asked. My mother sat in shock as I answered the woman. The words that my mother said and I will never forget is I knew it, I knew something was wrong and came over hugged me and started to cry.
“Has anyone touched you in inappropriate places or done anything to you that is very wrong?” That was the question I was asked to keep in mind I was 9 years old. No mother wants to hear them words ever and to that my answer was “yes”.
I had learned shortly after that my sister had been sexually abused by the same man.
We were taken to a police station to be questioned again but this time as a video recording. The wording is very mature as I was told I had to tell them everything that had happened and where. I remember drawing a picture for the policeman to show him what happened to me because I was too upset to speak.
The query went on for years it felt like a lifetime being questioned every week telling the same stories over and over. Going to councillors and hospital checks. I just wanted to be like my friends out playing with not a care in the world. I knew my life had changed forever and for the worst.
This man is a monster I kept telling myself every day. Why. Why us? The hospital checks came back that we had been sexually abused and police reports came back that semen had been found in the locations we had told the police. The monster was sent to prison for 8 years for breaching his bail due to previous convictions. This man had murdered an innocent man for 5 pounds years before and then done this to us!
When I turned 18 we were asked to stand up against him in court to get him sentenced. We couldn’t do it. We were scared. Everyone one in the family stopped speaking to my mom and us because they believed he never did it even to this very day. We just wanted this monster locked up for ours and for everyone else’s sake before he caused any other family so much pain.
He was never convicted because we didn’t testify. This very same man walks the same streets we do today.
As the years go on I will never forget what happened nor will I forgive but what I did learn is it wasn’t our fault. He is a monster in our eyes whether they believe us or not.
We are not victims we are survivors.
I met my first love at the age of 15. I felt loved. It was something special. We were dating for over a year. He took it slow with me which was the reason I knew I loved him. I freaked out a little when we first tried intercourse so I had to tell him about my past. I was scared he wouldn’t want to be with me anymore. He did. He stood by me through my ups and downs and helped me so much. We moved out together when we were 18 and been on a few holidays together.
A few years later we got engaged and had a baby boy at 24. I had to get an emergency caesarean as his heart rate was dropping. I was so scared I was going to lose my baby. He was born a healthy 7 pounds 12 ounces. He is our little golden boy with red hair and blue eyes. A gift from my dad in heaven who also had red hair. He takes his looks after his daddy and has an attitude like his mummy.
I suffered from post-natal depression after giving birth. I wouldn’t leave the house and didn’t want to see or talk to anyone.
My son is my rock and the reason I am here today. He gives me the strength I need every morning I wake up. Having a little man telling you every day he loves you is by far the best feeling anyone could ever feel.
He is 5 now and what a handful he is but I still wouldn’t change him for the world.
I gained a lot of weight in the first few years after giving birth. Which spiralled into depression again. I just wanted to sleep my life away. I didn’t feel comfortable or good about myself. I had tried numerous diets but nothing had worked.
Then one day we sat down to dinner and I said to my fiancé I’m starting the gym. He didn’t believe me at first but was very proud of me for doing something for myself.
So, I joined the gym in august 2015 and never in my life did I ever think I’d say it but I am hooked. I was anxious at first but soon got the hang of it. I started lifting weights and doing cardio and in 2 years I’ve lost a total of 3 stone. I feel better in my own skin and a lot more healthier.
I suffer from anxiety which is the worst feeling ever. Some people don’t get it. They think I’m just in just a mood or a lack of sleep. They tell you to get over it and get on with it. If only it was that simple. Every day is a struggle for me. Some days I don’t even know what I’m anxious about but I just am.
I am constantly worrying whether it’s being late or something bad will happen. I don’t like socialising because I feel I am not liked by people and won’t get along with them. I do try especially for my fiancé I don’t want to spoil everything for him.
When I’m anxious I stutter on my words and don’t make any sense. I hear myself talking and I say the wrong things and sound silly because I think people are over analysing me. It’s like being followed by a voice, it knows all your insecurities and uses them against you.
The simplest things are hard like making a phone call or talking to a doctor.
I have my good days and my bad days. Days when I just want to sit in the house all day and not talk to anyone and then other days I could chat the head of a crutch.
People assume it’s strange that I would text them all day then other days I wouldn’t text them for a week. I don’t have much of a family nor do I keep many friends but that’s anxiety for you and It sucks big time!
My life…Yes, it’s a struggle but with the right people in it I can learn to get on with it. I go to the gym 5 days a week because it keeps my head in check. So someday I will pluck up the courage and to get married and share the same name as my fiancé. Get a good job, take our son on holidays and try to live a better life.
I need to let go of the past and look forward to the future.
We are all fighting a battle that no one will understand. Never ever judge anyone.
You’re not going to master the rest of your life in one day…
Things will fall into place soon.