Sunday, 19 April 2015


Reader Lorraine talks about the trauma of childhood abuse in this brave and powerful post…

Lorraine says:
We all have things from the past that haunt us, but often these are minor things that will be forgotten in time; tripping up at school, being laughed at or being the victim of a practical joke. For me, the past was much harder to forget. I always thought I had an OK childhood, but that wasn't true. My stepdad treated me in a way he shouldn't have from the time I was a toddler right up until the time he died when I was ten. I didn't even know that this was wrong, I just knew that it was embarrassing and awkward and I would try to distract myself and not think about it and wait for it all to be over. I believed that as I was just a kid, that my opinion and feelings didn't matter and so I didn't tell anyone. When I went to school I began to work out that what was happening wasn't normal; I still didn't speak out. I was scared of hurting people, of being in trouble, of all kinds of things.

I wish I had found the courage to speak out because even after my stepdad passed away, I was still haunted by what had happened. Flashbacks began to paralyse my life and even then I was still too afraid to tell my mum. I developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a serious mental health issue. In the end, I confided in my doctor who believed me and put me in touch with someone who could help. I went to counselling and slowly learned to let go of the nightmare and live free again.

My message is, if you have fears or serious issues which haunt you, speak out and get help. Talk to an adult you can trust, even if you feel scared. Keep speaking out until someone listens and offers to help you. This is such a difficult subject for us all; schools won't teach us about abuse because they feel it's not appropriate for young children to know about such things. But abuse happens to all kinds of children, and if we don't teach them what to do and say if something like this happens to them, they will have no idea what is going on. They will bottle up the fear and the shame as I did. Abuse is not OK, and we need to speak up and challenge it. If you have something frightening in your life that you are keeping secret, please speak out. People will understand and listen, and they CAN help you.

Lorraine's name has been changed for this feature; the picture has been posed by model Kate.

Cathy says:
Lorraine's post is very hard to read, but it's hugely brave; her words could help others to break the silence and find help. Have YOU ever bottled up a secret from shame or from fear? COMMENT BELOW to share your thoughts.


  1. I was abused as a child although not in the way that Lorraine was (it was pure luck on my part considering my father was convicted of those offences against my sister) but it was still not the best childhood. I do have happy memories - riding my bike, winning awards in school, English lessons - but I also have other memories that kind of tarnish my whole view of my childhood like being held over the bannister by my ankles, being thrown at the wall and being hit with belts and slippers. I had to grow up quicker than my peers and, after my father went to prison (which the whole school quickly found out about and used to taunt me), I spent every Sunday hanging around in a prison car park with my brother whilst Mum visited my father - actually, calling him that makes my skin crawl, I'll call him her husband. The fact she stuck with him when she knew who he was was almost unforgivable. Almost. I think she was just scared of being a single mother but WE were scared that he'd move back in when his pathetically lenient sentence was over. Of course, his probation terms didn't allow that but we didn't know that. We even felt pressured to have supervised visits with him and our social worker. He tried to hug us and hold my hand and it made me feel sick. I was glad when he blamed my sister for the abuse and Mum quite rightly realised he was scum and we no longer had to have supervised visits. We'd already lost all our friends by then because Mum hadn't left him immediately though. I think, aside from a slight bitterness, I'm pretty much over having my childhood ripped to shreds in front of me and being kicked headlong into some sort of pseudo-adolescence at age 6 where I remained until I reached actual adolescence (you can see the bitterness, can't you?). It's still not over. He lives nearby. We don't know where, we're not allowed to know for his safety, but Mum saw him in our local supermarket the other week. I always felt safe when food shopping but now I'm not so sure. I know he won't be able to do anything and probably isn't allowed to approach me but seeing him will mess me up so it's sensible for me to stay at home. Less risk of running into him. He'll die soon. Then I'll be safe. I won't have to worry about every old man I see and wonder if that's him. That'll be good. I would agree with Lorraine - if you are being abused, bullied or hurt by anyone, you MUST speak out. It's scary but it's the best thing for you. There is always someone out there who cares about you and who can help you. Always.

    1. Hard to read this account, Anon, but the truth shines out of it and I can see how very painful this has been... and still is. Thank you for sharing. (((xxx)))

    I hope loraine has a happy life after shed spoken up!!!



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