Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

Pamela

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Pamela describes her horror when she discovered that her young child was being sexually abused by an organised group. This revelation, devastating in itself, also triggered a flood of dreadful memories and nightmares for Pamela.

Her early life was loveless and defined by brutality and neglect. As a baby she was placed in a residential nursery, after the death of her mother. She later lived with her step family as a young child until her early teenage years. She remembers beatings, starvation and neglect, and how unhappy she was.

In her early teenage years Pamela experienced psychological trauma, suffered from eating disorders and spent some time in hospital. Later, she lived in homeless shelters, self-medicating and addicted to prescription drugs. She became involved in a string of abusive relationships and it was only the discovery that she was pregnant with her first child that gave her enough focus to start taking care of herself.

Following the terrible disclosure of the abuse of her daughter, Pamela realised that her nightmares and flashbacks were repressed memories of her own organised and systematic abuse, which included being raped by groups of men.

Unable to control the torrent of memories or cope with their impact, Pamela says she suffered a severe psychological breakdown and has since been diagnosed with complex PTSD.

The one helpful element that Pamela could take from her distressing experience was, she says, the knowledge that ‘at least I now had the reasons why I persistently suffered a myriad of somatic and psychological ailments and why I was so held back in my development’.

Pamela describes the last few years as being very difficult. She has struggled to support her children and recovery from her own trauma. She is still battling to gain access to medical notes and records from her childhood.

She wants to understand why her abuse and neglect continued, apparently unnoticed and unchecked. She points out that over many years, social services, children’s services, children’s charities and the local health board were involved, and at times responsible for her care.

She says ‘Over the last 12 years I have been sent from one person and organisation to another in my attempt to get help and answers. What’s glaring to me is that the agencies were useless.’

Pamela has now accessed some counselling which is offered sporadically and is, she said, ‘better than nothing’. She hopes to engage in some further therapy in the future and says she looks forward to this.

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