Updated: Sep 16
You Are a Survivor, Therefore You are Stronger Than You will ever know. The key is knowing where your strength comes from and learning how to tap into that strength when you need it. Everyone is different and everyone has their own special source of strength! We all have our own demons to battle, our own struggles to pull through & our own mountains to climb! Never undermine your worth by Comparing yourself to others, it is because you are different that you are special!!
A Child Abuse Survivor ~ El's Story
From the day I was born until 2 months before my 14th birthday I had spent my life with my mother and my younger brother and sister. I could not remember my Biological Father even though I was 5 the last time I had seen him, I had been raised to believe that the father on my birth certificate was my Dad, in many ways he always was despite only ever knowing him through a photo! Anyway; At the age of 13 I was going through a rebellious stage and like most teenage girls I did not get along with my mother, I had always accepted that she did the best she could, she wasn't rich but from what memories I have I had felt we were loved. It was all I knew of family. As a young teen, I hated that my mother was very protective & only reluctantly accepted the responsibilities that came with being the oldest child. I had always blamed any conflicts between us on my own behavior. Well about 5 months before my 14th birthday my mother informed me and my brother that our biological father had been in contact, she had been convinced by him that he was a changed man, she did not feel it was right to let her personal feelings and experiences interfere with our chance to know him. She had also just gone through an ordeal first escaping then fighting a custody battle with our youngest sister's father. Rather than denying us the right to know our biological father she asked us if we were interested in seeing him, obviously as curious children, we said yes. So he traveled up from England to see us quite a few times for the next 3 months. He came across as the ideal father, he acted kind and loving, and very clever at making sure everyone believed that. I remember in the October holiday that my brother had gone to Our Bio F's home in England for a week because he was ill and our biological father had offered to look after him so our mother could continue going to uni. I recall a discussion with my mother about the idea of me going down to his for a week during the Christmas holiday, I had informed my mother that I was nervous about the idea and didn't want to go, she was supportive and said that we would speak to my Bio F together. Not long after that conversation, 2 months before I turned 14, my mother and my Bio F had an argument, my mother told him to leave and never come back. I to this day still do not remember the thought process that led from that conversation to leaving with him, somehow because of the rebellious stage I was going through and probably due to my Bio F's subtle Manipulation I at the time was convinced that my mother was being spiteful, so I told my mother that if he left I would, though she thought nothing of it at the time as we had had many a disagreement. I know that night was a violent one. I vaguely remember the bio F breaking into my mother's bedroom where me and my mother were talking, ironically about my deep instinct NOT to spend a week with him. He had forced his way in, I have a vague recollection of my mother being launched into her hifi. I do not understand how I was convinced to leave despite what I witnessed.
I know that dispute my rebelling against my mother I was the type of child that would break my heart crying if I saw my mother cry. But the next morning my Bio F got ready to leave, and I pretended to get ready for school, he had arranged to meet me at the bus stop and then we were to go into town and get the coach to England where he lived. This happened as planned.
I wasn't to know what the next 4 years had in store for me. Well the Bio F started fighting through the court to get custody of me, and the first couple month seemed okay except for the excusable discipline and him repetitively telling me how bad a mother my mother was and that she just wanted to control me and use me for a slave. He always used the truth as the basis of his argument and bending it to suit his purpose. It was not hard for the Bio F to brainwash me into believing he was right and by the time the court case came I was all revved up with the "I hate my Mum as far as I'm concerned she's dead" brainwashing that the Bio F won the court case. Though I do remember whilst at the court receiving a note from my mother asking to see me, I desperately wanted to say yes but I recall looking at him and telling the solicitor stubbornly No. This was when life went downhill, first came the physical abuse. At first in the form of more violent excusable discipline. Then about 4 months later came the Sexual abuse which was described as 'our special relationship', by which time the Bio F had enforced his authority on me and had brainwashed me to believe that the only family I had was him and that everything he did, he did out of love.
I was too afraid to stop it and too afraid that if I told anyone they would not believe me and I'd end up back with him anyway and he would be worse with me.
I desperately wanted to believe he loved me and his words were true. He also had this way of making you believe his words, he could tell you the sky was green and you would believe it, worse still he had a way of making you want and like the same things he did. Our Bio F later tried and fortunately failed to get custody of my Brother. He had sordid plans for him and my Brother to father my children when I was old enough. I am relieved that my Brother had quite an aggressive anger towards our Bio F for 'taking me away' and had told the judge that if they made him live with our Bio F he would continuously run away. I survived by pretending it was not happening!
I went to school and sought out deep connections with friends, and concentrated on my life at school with my friends, I got by the last of my school years by hanging with my friends, to them I was this very bubbly happy girl who loved a laugh and a joke.
I then went to college, some of my friends from school went with me. I also made new friends a miss-hap group of friends now fondly known as the qblock. I looked forward to going to college and hung with my friends. When it was the holidays I tried to be with my friends as much as I could.
The times that I wasn't, I tried to stay in my room away from him, my only other survival was to write in my diary or to write poetry, but never did I write about the things the Bio F was doing.
I always wrote about my friends, and I wrote poetry about my teen crushes.
Mostly it was the normal life that I had with my friends that kept me alive through those 4 years of abuse every day of those 4 years.
People think this is an over-exaggeration. It wasn't he got what he wanted from me when he wanted and heaven help me if I didn't do things right! The consequences were things like heavy ceramics launched at me for not doing his food the way he wanted. In a drunken rage, he launched me into a cabinet with glass doors, resulting in a hospital trip lots of lies, 11 stitches and a permanent scar! On one occasion I went to school with two of the blackest eyes you have seen due to being punch full force on the bridge of my nose. Another incident was being punched full force in the mouth, my front teeth knocked 90 degrees into the roof of my mouth, my braces and spending hours holding them in place while he held my head under freezing cold water forgetting I needed to breathe, is what saved the teeth! I remember vaguely the first time he manipulated his way into my bed at 14 and a handful of the worst incidents. That's not to mention the punishments that came in the shape of belts, wooden spoons and shoehorns repeatedly thrashed over my bare skin.
The sexual abuse was regular, sometimes daily other time a few times a week. The Emotional and psychological onslaught was daily, every moment of my life there was lived with hypervigilance. I was allowed only controlled written contact through letters with my Nanna (maternal) who lived in Kent, He monitored what I wrote and read the letters as they came through the door, ensuring my isolation from the adult world. In the period between 17 1/2 and 18, I ran away several times but I never told anyone why I ran away. Each time I ended up back because I thought I had no place to go. The town you live in seems huge and scary at that age never mind the country.
The trigger that finally made me realize I could escape and be strong was when I was in my 1st physical relationship with a guy, I hit a point where I realized that betraying someone I love (or thought I loved at the time) was worse, so about 4 weeks before my 18th birthday I ran away and I told my friends and bf about the violence that the Bio F had done to me over the years, having a visual example of the scar on my arm that had required 11 huge stitches demonstrated my truth without a lot of words. I ended up staying with my friends until they had helped me find a bedsit, which I shared with my boyfriend (who like my friends was only aware of the physical abuse). About a week before my 18th birthday I had been in contact with my Nanna, because my Bio F had come to my work with letters and a birthday present delivered from my Nanna, but had used it to squirm his way back into my life. When I wasn't there when he arrived & I took none of his manipulating bullshit through the phone, he later phoned my work to tell me he had found out my brother had run away and would I like to meet up to discuss it! I didn't fall for it, freedom opened my eyes wide to how wrong he was. I used the letters from my Nanna to get her number and phone her asking about my brother. It wasn't true, he lied to get his claws in. Worried my Nanna passed on my work phone number to my mother (who I had no contact with for 4 years) and she phoned my work to speak to me. I was very scared at first because of the 4 years of brainwashing the Bio F had done, I didn't know who to trust or who to turn to. But I spoke to her and my younger brother and sister, and for the next week, I was on the phone every night! My brother and sister wanted me to come up and visit so my mother arranged coach tickets for me and my boyfriend to come up for a long weekend. The weekend turned into a very long weekend as I never went back, I sat down with my mother the second night and told her all about the Physical abuse, after I had finished she was hugging me and said "it's all over now, just so long as what I thought might happen never happened..." as soon as she said that I burst into tears and She knew it happened. For the next couple of months, I didn't speak much of it while I was living with my mother as I became very ill. Doctors said it was the flu then they said it was an ear infection, and so on, my mother & doctors came to the conclusion it was a release of 4 years pent up stress and pressure wreaking havoc on my immune system. When I got better my mum said “whatever you wish to do I will back you up”, I decided to tell the police so he could never hurt anyone like that again
I wanted to protect the rest of my family including the cousins I've never met, as I recalled the sickly affection and fond way he told me story's of them and desired contact with them.
The police were informed. It was hard but the specialist police officers who took my statement were very calm and relaxed with me and made sure I took my time, so with my mother's support I relayed all of the 4 years that I could recall to the police. When I was 18 and a half I was foolish and needed to be loved and ended up marrying my boyfriend... It didn't last as his attitude had already slowly started changing towards me because of what the Bio F had done to me. His disgust in me solidified by having to make a statement to the police about a Sordid incident that had occurred when my Bio F tried to control and be involved in our relationship when he found out I had been dating him. A few months before my 19th birthday I went to court to be a witness for the prosecution, the prosecution insisted that the judge allowed a screen to be put up so I would not be able to see the Bio F whilst I was giving my evidence. For 3 days I was in court recalling as much of the 4 years as I could and arguing stubbornly with the defense when they produced my diary as evidence and insisted on knowing that if what I was telling was the truth why I had not written it... After I had finished in court it took all of my strength from me, my mother and my husband (at the time) ended up carrying me back to the hotel.
The conviction came through 2 months before my 19th birthday, the Bio F was charged with all 7 accounts of rape, child abuse & incest and was sentenced for 11 years. Things failed to get easier for a while. Just after my 19th birthday, I separated from my ex-husband, he left me feeling like I'd deserved everything I got. I hadn't realized the emotional abuse I had suffered until we separated.
I was low at this point. I didn't understand the point of life. I questioned existence. Unexpectedly a few weeks later I met my Husband. We were introduced by mutual acquaintances that feared I may self-harm and wanted him to show me where those thoughts lead (that lesson had a huge unexpected impact). We fell in love. He is my Soulmate. We had both been through hell & back for different reasons, but we understood each other's pain & became each other's rocks!
I knew when I met him, that he was in a worse place than I was with his past and recent tragedies. I fell in love with him. If you ask me, it was meant to be. Many were against us and deemed our relationship foolish and doomed. I knew then that if I wanted a relationship with the man I loved so immensely that I had to be strong for him!
And so began my path to healing...
We have been together ever since and he has loved me in all the ways I ever needed. He is so protective of me. I felt safe. It was his love and loving him that got me out of the downward spiral of depression that I was in when I first met him. He has been my rock and I have been his rock, he understands my past in the fullest depth and supports my fight for happiness. He has blessed me with our 4 beautiful children. He is by far from perfect, our relationship was by far smooth. But we worked damn hard together to car