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Experiences Shared

Angel

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Angel was sexually abused by her father for as long as she can remember, up until she was in her early teens. 

She would like an apology from the authorities for mistakes that were made in dealing with her case.

Angel says that throughout her childhood, she felt she had no choice but to do everything her father wanted, in order to protect her mother and her siblings.

The sexual abuse he subjected her to included oral and vaginal rape. He would also take indecent photographs of her. She describes him as ‘a very nasty character’ who emotionally abused her as well. He would not allow her to socialise so it was hard for her to make friends. 

Angel’s mother once found her father in bed with Angel, and later asked her daughter if he had ‘done anything’. Angel says she was too scared to tell the truth as her father had threatened to kill her if she did, and said her siblings would be put into foster care.

She doesn’t remember how the sexual abuse was discovered, but she has a vivid memory of her father being removed from the home and her sibling screaming ‘She's lying, she's lying’. 

Angel says the investigation and court case that followed was inept and very traumatic for her. The sound quality of her recorded interview was so poor it could not be used, and there was no full transcript of it. 

On the day she was due to give evidence in court via video link, the equipment failed. A plea bargain was struck. Angel feels the sentence her father received was very short, and no one explained to her what had happened. She was not given any counselling or support before or during the trial.

To add to her distress, her family relationships were very tense; her mother was cold and distant and her siblings blamed her for their father having to leave home. 

Angel says she felt completely isolated, with no one to talk to and feelings of shame and self disgust. She ran away from home several times, started drinking heavily and attempted suicide. She says her mother was concerned about her behaviour, but only because it was affecting her other children. 

After some time, her mother threw Angel out of the home. She spent a long time sofa surfing and became alcohol dependent. 

Angel has accessed her files from children’s services and she feels angry and upset about apparent failings and mistakes. In several instances, even her name is incorrect. 

She received a small sum of money from the local authority when she complained about some of the issues. She feels they took advantage of the fact she was homeless at the time and desperately needed the money, so she agreed to sign a disclaimer that she would not pursue them for any more.

Angel would like to receive an apology, and for society and professionals to be much more aware of the lasting impact that child sexual abuse has on victims and survivors. ‘Your whole world is upside down’ she says. She adds that there is no point encouraging children to come forward if the right action is not taken.

Angel has had several stays in rehab due to her alcohol addiction. She is trying to access therapy, but this is proving difficult. She would like to see more funding for services to help people with PTSD.

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