Skie* (aged 20) was abused for years by her father until she felt able to let her mum know what was happening.
My dad had been abusive to my mum since they first married, so I didn’t think we were different to any other family. When my father started sexually abusing me from the age of 2, I assumed that this was just something that happened.
…My entire childhood involved abuse.
My entire childhood involved abuse. Along with my sister and brother, our whole family was under the control of my dad, who at the best of times was verbally abusive, calling us names and saying we were stupid. If we ever ‘stepped out of line’ he would become physically violent. In secret, both me and my sister were also being sexually abused.
… I had always seen school as an escape from what was going on.
When I was young, I blocked it out and didn’t think about it. However, from about the age of 11 I became unwell. As a result I was out of school for a year, and when I became well enough I began home tuition. Even though my dad worked full time and wasn’t home in the day, I had always seen school as an escape from what was going on at home, so losing this escape got me thinking about my situation.
…I was out shopping with my mum when I told her.
For the next three years I started to think about it more and more, and was wrestling with the decision of whether or not to tell my mum. Mum had always suffered from depression so I wanted to protect her. However, at 14, after one particularly bad experience and the suspicion that he might also be abusing my brother, I decided to tell her – we were out shopping together and it just came out.
….For my mum this was the final straw.
For my mum this was the final straw after a lifetime of abuse. Much of his behaviour clicked into place; she called the police and didn’t let him back in the house. He threatened us and tried to force entry. However a court case never went ahead, because after three days he took his own life.
…I found it hard to grieve after everything that happened.
I experienced mixed emotions. I found it hard to grieve after everything he had done. He was still my dad and there were things about him that I did miss, but at the same time there was an overwhelming sense of freedom and the knowledge that everything that had gone before would stop.
…I’ve accepted that was happened wasn’t my fault.
Five and a half years on and I’m positive about the future. I’ve struggled with my self-confidence, and have found relationships difficult. But I accept that what happened wasn’t my fault and that things will improve. I’ve gained qualifications in music, and I’m teaching guitar. I’m also currently doing a Duke of Edinburgh Award.
…the most important thing is to talk to someone.
For anyone living with abuse at home I’d say the most important thing is to talk to someone. I spoke to my friend’s older sister, and also to ChildLine who were fantastic. You are completely anonymous so you can say anything you like, which might be more than you would say to someone you know.
*Name has been changed.