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Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Jayne gives a poignant account of being unloved and abused throughout her childhood.

The people who should have protected her disbelieved her, or criticised her behaviour, instead of questioning the possible causes.

Jayne was the youngest of four children. She relates that she has no memory of her father but she remembers her mother had mental health problems. 

She was very young when she was put into foster care with a family. She says that for a time she stopped speaking and used to hide if anyone visited. 

Her foster parents were an older couple and the foster father, Tony, was a particularly large man. Jayne grew up in fear of him, and a lot of her friends were scared of him too.

She says he never really spoke with her, and she remembers that he didn’t like having people in the house. She remembers that he would curse and make ‘dirty remarks’ about people. 

Jayne describes feeling as a child that she was unloved by her own family, and just a source of money for her foster family. Tony bragged he fostered Jayne and her sister because no one else would have them, as if they were somehow bad.

Tony sexually abused Jayne and her sister. She chose to not go into many details about the abuse but she says he began to abuse her when her sister got older and started having boyfriends. 

She adds that if her foster father ever saw Jayne with any boys she was friends with, he would call her a ‘harlot’. 

On one occasion, Tony took her to the doctors to check if she was pregnant. 

Because there was a lot of tension in the house, the children used to all go out as much as possible. Jayne describes catching the bus and ‘roaming everywhere’. 

But as she got older her foster parents wanted her to do more jobs around the house. If she was late back she got ‘a thrashing’ from Tony and was sometimes denied meals as a punishment. She says that her friends fed her a lot.

Jayne frequently got into trouble and she spent time in children’s homes. She says she tried to tell some people in authority what had happened to her but she was called a liar.

Her foster parents used to visit her in the homes, and the staff seemed to think they were nice and loving. And when social services visited the family house, Jayne says her foster parents always made sure the place was tidy and the girls were nicely dressed. 

When Jayne was in her mid teens, she took an overdose and was put in care again. She ran away often, but the police never asked her why. 

She feels that many people in her life, including police, teachers and social workers, were quick to judge her, but no one did anything to help. 

The sexual abuse Jayne endured has affected her marriage, her relationship with her children and her physical health.


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