Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

Emma

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Emma says she has never before disclosed all the information about the sexual abuse that was committed by a doctor.

She describes going through a tough period when her parents divorced. Emma was close to her dad, but she and her mother moved to a new house and she was sent to a different primary school where one of the teachers would ridicule her. One day she had had enough and says she ‘went for’ this teacher.

Emma’s mum was called to the school and she was sent to a child psychologist, Dr Young, at the local hospital. Emma remembers thinking at first the doctor liked her as he would bring her tea and cake. She describes a big play room in the hospital with lots of toys and places to draw – she loved drawing.

Dr Young was nice to her. At the time she felt that he was someone who cared about her. Now she thinks he groomed her.

One day the doctor told Emma that her mum had said she was suffering from worms. He took her to a room saying that he had some ointment for her and looked down her pants. When Emma told her mum about this, her response was: ‘He is just looking to see if you are grown up.’

At the next appointment, Dr Young took Emma into a room. He asked her whether she knew the difference between men and women and showed her pictures of naked people. He told Emma that he had the cream for her worms and told her to stand up and put her hands on the desk. Dr Young pulled Emma’s pants down and then started inserting what she says felt like grease in her backside with his fingers.

Emma says she can’t remember feeling pain, but she does remember feeling ‘so embarrassed’. She didn’t know what to do but just wanted it to go away. She was left alone with the doctor and was too young to say that she needed anyone with her. She saw Dr Young a few more times after this and he would continue to look down her pants. He then told her that he was leaving the hospital and that he would write to her – she remembers getting a letter from him.

She says because her mother did not act when she had told her about the sexual abuse, Emma was left partly feeling that what happened ‘was alright’, and partly questioning whether it had happened, although she knows that it did. Emma feels in a way that her mum gave the doctor permission to sexually abuse her.

Much as she wanted to, Emma never told her dad. She says: ‘He would have killed my mum and him (the doctor). I know my dad.’ The next doctor that Emma saw, she says was ‘amazing, and lovely’, but she never felt able to trust him because of what happened with Dr Young.

She describes herself as haunted by the sexual abuse; she has constant flashbacks and has self-harmed. She says her experience has ruined her relationships; she believes she is ‘unlovable’, doesn’t like getting close to anyone and has only recently let people hug her or show her affection.

It wasn’t until she got older that Emma realised what Dr Young had done and the mental impact it had on her. She worried that if she spoke about it people would think that she wanted attention. She feels real anger towards her abuser and doesn’t want other children to go through what she did.

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