Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

Nancy

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Nancy feels strongly that she wants people to understand sexual abuse of children is not a new occurrence. Her traumatic experiences happened when she was a young girl during the Second World War.

Nancy had just started school when the Blitz began, and she and her sibling were evacuated from the city to a farm where they stayed for several years.

She says that the farmer was very fond of her, but his wife was vile. She didn’t hit Nancy, but she did cruel things, like putting salt in the children’s drinks. Nancy remembers being pinched and laughed at when she soiled her nightdress. The farmer’s son also made life unpleasant, bullying and hitting Nancy’s sibling. The only good things about life on the farm, apart from the kind farmer, were the animals that Nancy adored.

Nancy describes her father as a strange and distant man who had been brought up in care. He was serving in the armed forces and was stationed near the farm, in accommodation shared with other servicemen. Nancy’s mother, who she says was lovely, worked and was also transferred near to the farm. She saw her mother perhaps every three months but rarely saw her father. Nancy remembers wishing that her mother would take her away from the farm, but she never did.

Life on the farm was hard and busy and the young children had to work. The farmer employed a man called Morris as a labourer. On market day, the farmer and his family would take Nancy’s sibling into town, but Nancy was considered too young to go with them. One market day, when everyone had left, Morris called Nancy into the farmhouse where he tied her to a chair, blindfolded her and raped her.

He told her he would kill her if she told anyone what had happened. Nancy was raped on numerous occasions; she would try to run away but Morris always found her. Nancy considered telling the farmer but the thought of how his cold wife might react stopped her. She thought about talking to a kind man who shared her father’s accommodation, but he left before she had the courage to tell him.

One market day, in desperation, Nancy went to the farm’s stables where she crawled under the manger, listening to the calming breathing of the animals and hoping she wouldn’t be found. Morris didn’t find her that day and he didn’t touch her again. Soon after, she was considered old enough to start going on the trips to the market.

Nancy and her sibling were taken home by their mother at the end of the war. She never spoke about what had happened to her. When Nancy was older, her mother sent her back to the farm for a holiday. Nancy remembers feeling terror at the thought of returning there but she could not say anything. The farmer’s wife and son treated her well this time and seemed genuinely pleased to see her. Morris had left the farm and Nancy never saw or heard of him again.

She returned to visit the farm as an adult. The farmer’s son had grown into a gentle man and their friendship continued until he killed himself. Nancy’s sibling also attempted suicide. Nancy only spoke to her sibling once about their time at the farm. She thinks it did a lot of damage to them both. She considered telling her mother but felt she did not want to hurt her.

Nancy says it makes her cross that people don’t seem to realise that child sexual abuse is not a new phenomenon; it happened to her more than 70 years ago. It also angers her that there were apparently no checks carried out on the people who took in evacuees.

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