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Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Mylandra’s childhood memories are of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. The perpetrator was her father.

After many years of counselling, she feels she is rebuilding her life and finds solace in her family and helping others.

Mylandra is of Caribbean heritage and was born and brought up in the UK. She had younger siblings. Her mum did occasional domestic work and her father was a labourer, who drank heavily.

When Mylandra was about four years old she shared a bed with one of her brothers. She recalls being woken one night by her father who showed her pictures of naked women, then undressed her and touched her inappropriately.  

He continued to abuse her for the next 11 years, until she was placed in care. She explains that the pattern was always the same – he started with physical abuse before moving on to sexually assault her. The abuse usually occurred when her mother was out of the house, and it included oral sex. Her father also constantly humiliated and threatened her.

Mylandra’s mother was petrified of her husband and Mylandra sometimes wonders whether she knew what was going on.

She adds that her siblings used to tease her about being beaten up by her father, even though they did not know about the sexual abuse.

Mylandra vividly recalls one occasion when she was about 10 years old. Her mother joined a church and got baptised. Her father attended the service, and he was drunk. He dragged Mylandra out of the church, took her home and assaulted her so badly she bled heavily.

She explains that because her father did not sexually abuse her when she was having a period, she would put tomato ketchup on herself to try to put him off.

At some stage in her childhood, Mylandra’s father became a pastor at a local church. This position of outward respectability did not stop him continuing to sexually abuse his daughter. 

As a young teenager, Mylandra started to commit minor offences and get into trouble. She was taken to a juvenile court and from there referred to a children’s hospital where she told a member of staff about the abuse she was suffering.

The person told Mylandra’s mother, but at the time, her mother was very ill.  Added to that, she was scared of her husband and no action was taken. 

At some point following this, her parents had a massive row. Shortly afterwards, her mother died. Mylandra did not go to school for several weeks, and when she returned, staff asked her how she was. She told them she was being abused. She is not sure that she was believed but she was taken into care and never went home again.  

Mylandra says that her early years of adulthood after she left foster care were difficult. 

Her father remarried and had a daughter, and moved to the West Indies with his new family.  

Some time later, Mylandra was contacted by the police. It transpired that her father had raped his young daughter and was being brought back to the UK to be arrested. 

She told the police that he had sexually abused her too and was asked to be a witness in the case against him. However, the prosecution did not go ahead. Her father left the area, but before he went, he came to her home, tried to kick her door down and threatened her. 

Mylandra describes how badly she has been affected by the years of abuse. She has suffered with depression, anxiety and eating disorders. She has no confidence and says she puts herself down as a result of the things her father used to say to her. 

She does not believe that social services reported to the police that she had been abused when she was taken into care, and she feels angry about that. She also feels very upset that her mother died and her father is still alive.

She has distrusted men throughout her whole life and did not like them being near her children when they were growing up.

Mylandra receives counselling and psychological support, and feels that she is starting to get her life together. She finds a lot of joy in supporting others and she is passionate about ensuring that everyone is treated fairly. 

She takes comfort from her family. 

She adds that she is trying to live her life in a way that would have made her mother proud. 

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