Daventry woman speaks out about ultimate betrayal and abuse at hands of her own dad
A little girl from Daventry lived a fun-filled, happy childhood just like any other seven year old growing up with her parents...until everything changed one Saturday morning in 1983.
She was looking forward to some quality time with her dad as her mum took her sibling to the seaside for the day.
The survivor has chosen to share her story with the Daventry Express in the hope it helps just one other person see light at the end of a very long tunnel.
She said: "While my sibling was having fun in Blackpool with mother, my father raped me for the first time.
"He went on to take every opportunity to abuse me; be it every day or every weekend, whenever the opportunity arose for him, I knew it was me who was going to pay for it.
"This is where he seed was planted for my mental health. As a husband he was abusive and beat my mum on a regular basis especially after drinking. He instilled fear into everybody who lived under his roof."
When she was just ten years old, she witnessed her father attacking her mother.
"I prevented him from killing my mum.
"He was strangling her and was gasping for breath, but because we were so afraid of him, the police was never called to any of the beatings that my mother took."
The woman was sexually abused at the hands of her dad from the age 7 -13.
"He did everything that could think possible to myself," she went on.
"Each time, he said if I told anybody he would kill my mum. On one occasion after he had been drinking and I was alone in the house, he asked me to take the decorative dagger that was on top of one of the living room units and kill him, which of course I never did."
Her mother knew nothing of the abuse going on under her own roof. The woman said her dad was good at hiding his sickening acts.
She said: "Family life was hard we weren’t allowed friends. We always had to be quiet and were never allowed hot running water or extra heat in the winter unless he was up and about.
"He had stripped our self-confidence and self-esteem."
As she approached her 14th birthday, the then teenage girl asked her mother if she could take the day off school.
"I remember clearly," she said.
"It was a Friday. I broke down in tears and obvioulsly mum wanted to know why. That was it. Everything came out that day. Everything he had done to me, and the reasons why I hadn’t said anything is because I truly believed he would kill my mum.
"To the outside world he was the nicest man going and would give you the shirt off his back, but behind closed doors, he was nothing less than a monster."
Her mother confronted him and filed for a divorce.
"He said 'someone had to teach her'. He honestly said that."
The mother and daughter, who is now in her 40s, couldn't face going to the police.
"We didn’t want the shame, finger pointing and whispering. Life was hard enough as it was and eventually my mum got ill and had a complete nervous breakdown."
She said her mother still deals with poor mental health all these years later.
"After a series of my own abusive relationships and mistakes that I made I thought I could run away from my problems and everything would be OK.
"I move to Cornwall, this is where my mental health spiralled, I learned you can never run away from yourself. I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and was put on medicaoion. I would wake up one day to the next not knowing who I was going to be."
Being away from her mother at the age of 17, her mental health took a serious turn.
"My mental health got so bad I started to suffer from auditory and visual hallucinations," she said.
"I imagined huge metal spiders crawling from underneath the sofa, bears with metal teeth and claws and things I call 'dust bunnies' were part of everyday living. How the doctor never committed me I really do not know. By this time I had been self-harming for at least five years, which was my way of letting out the pain when I cut. This, and the pain afterwards, is what I thought I deserved for everything that had happened in my life and when they healed I would cut again, it was like living in a revolving door.
"Eventually, I moved back to Daventry and basically became homeless and so the mental illness took hold again but this time the hallucinations were worse seeing rotting dead people or a girl that has been with me the longest as one of my hallucinations, her body was slashed and used to crawl about the floor or peek out of my wardrobe. I knew how ill I was. I needed more than tablets to get me well again."
She said back then, mental health was hard to open up about.
"I was offered a few sessions of counselling which for me did not help in the slightest," she said.
"But to many it has been a lifeline for them as everyone demons are different."
She was eventually diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, anxiety, social phobia, social anxiety disorder, emotional detachment disorder, psychosis and insomnia.
"This made it hard to function in what people call 'normal society'," she said.
"I can no longer answer my own front door and totally freak if the door is knocked and I am not expecting anyone. I can’t take phone calls unless they are pre-arranged. Apart from doctors' or dentist appointments, I haven’t left the house for more than five years. My whole life is lived withing my four walls which is why my crafting is so important to me."
She is not ashamed of her mental health issues and is comfortable talking about her experiences.
"There needs to be better access across he board for anyone and everyone who needs it. People are being let down, badly. Mental health s not something to be ashamed of or hide away from, it needs to be talked about more."
The woman, who is married to a supportive partner, said her heartbreaking story is also one of hope.
"I have learned it was not of my making, but the so-called caring protective parent that called him self 'my father'. And as for karma, she did catch up with him. He died of cancer many years ago.
"Anybody suffering in any way at all in silence, please reach out to anyone and get the help that you need whether you think you deserve it or not.
"I have lots to be thankful for. I have a loving mother and partner and have not self-harmed for two years."
In an emergency, call 999. For urgent support and advice call Serenity 01604 601713. The service helps men, women, and young people who have been raped or sexually assaulted. The service is available 24hrs every day to anyone who lives in Daventry District. Northamptonshire Rape Crisis telephone number is 01604 250721 or 0300 222 5930.