Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

Harmony

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Harmony grew up in care, with foster parents and later in a children’s home. She doesn’t know why she was in care but she says it was a ‘good upbringing’. 

But she was returned to the care of her mother, who racially abused her. She was also sexually abused in her mother’s home by her two half brothers. 

When Harmony was about 10 years old, she was told that her mother was coming to see her at the children’s home. At that stage, she says, she didn’t even know she had a mother. She recalls of the first meeting with her ‘She was awful’.

She went to live with her mother, who had two sons Harmony had never met before. She found she had to share a bed with them and says ‘They were coming into their teens and experimenting and they started messing about with me’.

Harmony is mixed race; her mother and brothers are white. Her mother racially abused her and hit her. She says she was ‘treated like a servant, while the boys ran wild’. 

Because of her treatment at home Harmony says she started to rebel. She smashed up a classroom at school and was sent to a remedial school but later managed to pass her exams. She remembers asking to go back to the children’s home but the social worker told her to ‘give it a chance’. 

When Harmony was 12 years old, her mother dressed her up, put makeup on her and sent her out with a young male. She thinks Blake was probably in his 20s. He got her drunk, told her she couldn’t go home in that state, took her to his house and raped her. He continued to rape her over the next two years, until she became pregnant at the age of 14. 

Harmony was taken back into care, and sent to a mother and baby home run by Catholic nuns. She says ‘They viewed me as a sinner … I did think it was all my fault’. No one asked who the father of her baby was and she was not given any support. She remembers being on her own in the labour ward and being ‘frozen with fear’. 

Harmony was told she had to give the baby up for adoption, and her mother came to sign the papers. She says ‘They wouldn’t let me keep my baby … I’ve never really got over that’.

She saw her baby for a short while after she gave birth but became distraught. She was told ‘Put it behind you ...  you will have plenty of babies in the future’. She never had any more children.

In later life, Harmony went on to be successful in the area of patient care. She relates that when she was learning about attachment and returning children back to their parents, she thought ‘no, it’s not always for the best’.

Years later her mother contacted her. They met and Harmony told her mother that Blake had raped her, but says ‘she didn’t care’.

She contacted social services to access her records and was handed ‘just a few pages to represent 18 years of my life’. She threw them in a bin at the end of the street but now wishes she hadn’t. She reported the sexual abuse to the police but was told that they could not locate Blake.

Harmony has self-harmed, attempted suicide and struggles with alcohol. She has never been able to sustain a relationship, and says ‘I don’t really want to.’

She questions why social services didn’t take her into care when she asked them to, adding that she only lived with her mother for three years but it ‘wrecked’ her life.

She emphasises ‘It’s important to listen to children, treat children as people, not as inconveniences, case numbers or boxes to be ticked’.

 

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