Hello lovelies, I hope you’re all well and doing ok. I thought I would write about my experience reporting sexual abuse as a child. I did also report later on in my life but I wanted to write a post on how it was for me as a 7 year old child. I will write another post about the process and experiences I had with reporting when I was in my teens but in this post I just wanted to talk about my experience reporting as a child. It’s difficult to know where to start but I’m just going to give my best. There’s 1000 thoughts going around in my head so I’m sorry if this is a bit all over the place.
Growing up I lived with my Mom, Dad , my brothers who were born when I was 4 and my Grandad. I was loved and cared for so much by my mom and dad, they did everything for me and my brothers but it wasn’t just me being groomed it was them too. It’s important to know that abusers don’t just groom their victims they also groom everyone around them. My Grandad always treated me extra specially compared to my brothers. I was his favourite, He’d buy me sweets and nice things. My brothers were still on baby’s so my Grandad would say to my Mom and Dad he’d take me out to help them out, but we weren’t just going out for the day. He began abusing at 3 when he began inappropriately touching and as I grew older it progressed to other things. He abused me at home and when we went out for the day. He introduced me to his friends at the local social club and they’d buy me a drink or sweets and they started to abuse me too. I was confused I had no idea what was happening to me was wrong because I loved my Grandad he used to say things like “its a game.” , ” he loves me very much.”, ” It our little secret.” I didn’t understand what was happening to me. Sometimes things felt bad and I felt embarrassed but I didn’t think what was happening was wrong. He used to tell me that it’s my fault, that nobody would believe me, that my mom and dad would hate me and I hung on his every word I believed all the things he said to me.
When I was 7/8 something happened that changed my life, I believe if this didn’t happen I would never have told I’m not sure if i’d be alive now. I lived on a street with some older girls. We were really good friends and played together all the time. One of the girls helped teach me to ride my bike. We loved playing in the garden and in the street together. What I didn’t know about these girls is that my Grandad had been inappropriate to them, I never found out the details about what happened to the girls but they were brave enough to tell. The way I found out was we were sitting on the wall outside and the girls were saying I was too young to hear what they were talking about but eventually they told me. I don’t remember exactly what they told me but later that night I was in the bath and I repeated to my Mom what the girls had said to me and some other things and straight away my Mom and Dad told him he needed to leave straight away. I remember being in the bath and he tried to come in and asked if he could say goodbye but my mom and dad wouldn’t let him get through. I remember looking out of the window and seeing him drive off.
Not long after that social services and the police got involved. I remember this lady coming to my house and sitting me and my brothers at the table, she had a box of crayons and paper and she asked us to draw muddles. A muddle is basically scribbles on a page and the bigger the mess the more confused and upset that showed. My brothers Muddles were just small and didn’t stand out; they were too young to know what was going on where as mine filled the entire page it was very messy. This flagged to the social worker that something wasn’t right with me and they needed to talk to me more.
My Grandad was banned from coming to our house, he wasn’t allowed near me or my brothers whilst the investigation was happening. After seeing the social worker I was sent to get help from the NSPCC to support me. I was so young at the time It all just felt scary and confusing. There were two ladies who I worked with Liz and Helen and they were the kindest, most caring ladies. I began seeing them and I started to open up a bit but not enough I was still scared and confused. I have this specific memory of going to the NSPCC which looked like a house and I sat in the room with both Liz and Helen and we got the sylvanian families out and dolls and They asked me to choose the different dolls for family members. They then asked to place them anywhere in the room, I put my mom and dad, my brothers and me in the same place but I put my Grandad in this box in the corner of the room and I remember them asking where I’d put him and I remember saying Africa. I just wanted him to go away, but that couldn’t happen.
Time went on and my primary school was informed and I was really looked after at school. I had the most lovely teacher. She was one of the kindest women I know she always made sure I was ok. My Grandad would drive past the school gates and hang around the car park by my school because there was a pub there and I became so scared. He was told by the police he needed to stay away.
My mom gave this bear and I still have her, her name is honey and I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of her honey was my everything. Honey was brought for me as comfort and I’d wanted to build a bear for so long and the time was perfect as my police interview was coming up and I needed comfort, I was having nightmares and I wouldn’t sleep in my own room and my parents thought having a teddy who I could love could help me. My birthday came and I was given little clothes for honey and I adored everything honey was so precious to me.
Eventually my police interview came around and I can remember it like it was yesterday. I picked an outfit out for honey. I dressed her in this checked dress and little white shoes, my favourite outfit of hers. It was a horrid grey day the weather was grim, I remember having this feeling in my tummy that I can’t describe. Once we got to the place which just looked like a house/flats and my mom walked up these stairs and I remember that’s when I started to feel scared. There were two chairs and my mom was told she had to wait outside for me. I chose Liz from the NSPCC to come in with me. I think I liked her best, I remember her picking me up in her little mini and I thought she was so lovely and cool. Inside the interview room there were leather sofas and a coffee table that had bears on the police man and Liz sat on one side and I sat on the other clutching honey. I remember the leather sofa being so uncomfortable and feeling so small and scared about this policeman. Throughout the interview I struggled to explain and say the words I remember the feeling of my face burning because I was so embarrassed I remember just wanting to cry but I knew I couldn’t. I said some things that had happened to me, I did my best but I was just so young. There was so much I blocked out and didn’t understand. I remember coming out of that room and hugging my mom so tightly and trying so hard to not cry.
Life kind of went on. I didn’t really understand what happened after the interview. I just kept going to school and seeing Liz and Helen. Eventually the CPS decided that there wasn’t enough evidence for my case to go to court. Which now as an adult I know is just wrong. However the other girls did go to court. The trial went on for a couple of days and during that time I went to stay with my family away from what was happening at home. He was found not guilty. He was free. Soon after that we moved away. It was all shoved under the rug, I wouldn’t talk about it I just wanted to forget. I was still having nightmares but I started to get on ok. Until my teens where things changed and I began to really struggle.
Thank you for reading this chapter in my story. I want you to know that you’re not alone, that you’re strong and brave and that I believe in you. Keep going x