Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

Mia

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Mia’s parents divorced when she was young, and she lived with her mother. But later, rejection by her mother and stepfather led Mia into a chaotic life, abuse by an older man and pregnancy as a young teenager.

After the divorce, an older cousin would babysit Mia when her mother went out, and on these occasions would share her bed.

By the time that Mia was seven years old, her elder cousin had begun to touch her intimately. Not knowing how to deal with this, Mia says she would pretend to be asleep.

She confided in a female cousin who told Mia that the same cousin had been touching her too and after this, Mia found the courage to tell an aunt what was happening. The aunt gave Mia the impression that she ‘brushed it under the carpet’ but the abuse stopped from that point. 

Some time later, Mia’s mother remarried, and her home became ‘a crazy house’ filled with lots of children whom she didn’t know. Her stepfather was a verbally aggressive man who would smash the children’s toys when he lost his temper.

When Mia was in her early teens her mother and stepfather took her out of her class at school to tell her that they no longer wanted her to live with them and that she was to move in with her father. Mia says she was devastated, hurt and confused. At first, she would often run away back to her mother, but she eventually settled with her father and came to regard him as a ‘fantastic dad’.

During this time, Mia  went out one evening to a pop concert and met a man named Connor. Mia began seeing Connor regularly. She says at first, she thought he was ‘fascinating, charming’, adding that he told her ‘everything I wanted to hear’. She was 13 years old.

Mia’s father allowed Connor to move in with them. By this time Connor had begun to touch Mia in a sexual way. Mia believes that her father ‘kind of knew’ what was happening and after a while he told Connor to move out. She says she was very unhappy about this and saw her father as an ‘enemy’. She moved back to her mother’s, and it was not long before Connor followed her and ‘wound his way in’.

Mia says her mother was concerned about her relationship with Connor, but she lied when she was questioned about it. Connor suggested that Mia should find a friend to act as an alibi, so they could spend time alone together, so Mia introduced him to a teenage girl who lived locally. The teenage girl and Connor began living together and Mia became a regular visitor, having groomed Mia to the extent that she was having regular unprotected sex with Connor.

When she was 14 years old, Mia discovered that she was pregnant by Connor. By this time, he had become physically abusive and ‘volatile’. Connor ‘begged’ Mia to keep the baby despite being violent. Mia’s pregnancy was reported to children’s services, but she lied to social workers that the child she was expecting was the result of a one-night stand. 

The social workers did not believe this, and they raised aspects of her family’s history which Mia found difficult. They also told her that Connor had sexually abused other children, but she refused to accept this. She says she later learned it was true.

Around this time, Connor told Mia to report the abuse she had experienced by her cousin to the police. The police conducted a video interview with Mia and arrested her cousin but decided there was not enough evidence to take the matter to court. Many members of Mia’s family sided with her elder cousin, which she says made her more reliant on Connor.

One night when she was staying with Connor the police arrived and arrested him for an unrelated offence. She was heavily pregnant at this stage and although the police asked for her name and age, they then ignored her and there was no follow-up.

After she gave birth, Mia knew that that she would lose her baby if she stayed with Connor. She moved back to her mother’s home and admitted that Connor was the father of her baby. But Connor put pressure on her to keep seeing him and, feeling scared and confused, Mia gave in. 

A couple of years later, Mia discovered that she was pregnant again. Connor had become more violent towards her and regularly punched her in her stomach. Children’s service demanded that Mia undertake a DNA test and threatened legal action if she refused. She decided to terminate the pregnancy.

Connor continued to use physical violence to control Mia and even threatened to firebomb her family’s home. Mia says she was ‘a mess’. She felt that the only way to protect her family was to move away from them and closer to Connor’s family. During this time, he was arrested for sexually abusing another child. 

Mia eventually reported Connor’s abuse to the police when she was in her 20s. He was arrested and stood trial for his abuse of Mia and received a prison sentence of five years. He will remain on the sex offender register for life.

Mia has since returned to her studies and gained a postgraduate degree. She now works with young people.

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