Spoken from a survivor
As part of our ongoing commitment to the Violence Against Women and Girls strategy, we spoke to a survivor of child sexual abuse.
This survivor was a child when she was subjected to abhorrent abuse by a relative, in whom she trusted.
This is her story:
A survivor of child sexual abuse has now told how she was molested, tormented and raped by someone who was supposed to love and protect her the most. She has told her story to encourage other young women to speak out.
The survivor, now in her late teens, was repeatedly abused by a family member from the age of 11 for a number of years. This person took advantage of the position of trust he had.
Speaking about her experiences, she said:
“I had no knowledge or understanding that the humiliation, anguish and violation I was experiencing was so terrible.
“His words of persuasion will be forever engrained in my young mind - at that age, you trust that what is happening is normal.
“I had no idea that what I had been experiencing was rape until I learned what consent was and what it meant. I was manipulated and coerced.
“The place I called safety was now the place filled with fear. Days where he would unexpectedly come back to find me in my room to then just try seducing me and kissing me, it was terrifying.
“I was assaulted nearly every day before going to school…getting ready for school, eating breakfast, and leaving the house were all difficult tasks. I used to put up a fight, I'd still make my presence at school.
“I was told that this happens in households, but nobody tells anyone about it.
“Crying myself to sleep, and still not knowing what was happening to me, but how I knew that something was wrong, even if I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I just remember how it felt to lose control.
“I may have appeared ‘normal’ on the outside and put on a happy face, but on the inside, I was anything but. It was eating away at me like a parasite. It was a constant fight I’d put up with, I was powerless.
‘I would believe him when he apologised and promised to never do it again since he was nearly 30 years older than me.”
After learning that what was happening wasn’t right, our survivor reported the offences to the police.
“The process was the most difficult I'd ever had to go through.
“I became tired of trying, while he kept insisting that he hadn’t done anything, with ‘no comment’. He made my nights hell, and yet he was the one who was left speechless.
‘I felt like he had just torn me to pieces.’"
Despite being young and having limited knowledge and experience of the criminal justice system, she powered through with the determination to get justice. Her perpetrator was found guilty of multiple offences and subsequently sent to prison.
During and following the trial, there was a support network for our survivor including family, teachers and health care professionals, to help rebuild and move on from her horrific ordeal.
In her words she wanted to reach out to other women and girls that may have experienced or may be experiencing unacceptable behaviour.
“Violence against women is something that should never be tolerated.
“Thankfully, with the amazing people I had around me, I was well supported in speaking out about my abuse, but I also know many others who have not had the opportunity to get justice; they’ve just have had to be silenced about it and those who reported it but later retracted their statements because of the manipulation of others.
“Women and girls, who are silently suffering, are victims, are survivors. I want to let you all know, I feel you, my thoughts are with you. And I want you to know you are warriors!
“With it being violence against women and girls’ awareness week, let’s all spread the word and generate positivity of women’s rights and the equality and safety we need! So, let’s get ready and tackle these issues to end violence against women.”
For more information, please visit our dedicated VAWG advice page