I was sexually abused by a family friend from the age of 5-6 until I was 13-14; when I had enough courage to tell my parents. Their reaction was shock, but they believed me. My Dad got the police involved and before they could visit him, he’d taken his own life. I was told not to say anything to anyone by my Mum and Dad, so I never did.
I really struggled at school and came away with no qualifications. I always felt different to my friends and had no confidence, no self-esteem and couldn’t have a conversation with anyone without going bright red and feeling stupid. I left school at 16 and managed to get a job but still did not believe in myself.
I met my husband in 1967 aged 17 and we got married on my 21st birthday. We’re still together to this day and have two gorgeous daughters who are both married and have given us four lovely grandchildren.
When the news came out of Jimmy Saville I started thinking of my childhood. Up until this point, I hadn’t dared mentioned it to my husband and this feeling went on for months until one day I flipped and just wanted to run away. My husband and daughter calmed me down and made an appointment with a doctor, who said I was going through a breakdown. I struggled for another week, until finally blurting everything out to my husband. I also told my two girls, who took the news badly, but all gave me plenty of support and love.
On 9th May 2017, I took my first step into Support for Survivors and met Maxi Leigh. I was in a state – trembling, crying and could not speak to her at all, so my husband had to tell her as much as he could. I was able to say a bit more on my second appointment and felt more at ease and trusted Maxi enough to open up, and from there on I haven’t looked back.
I’m now a volunteer for Support for Survivors, helping ladies who have suffered abuse to move forward. This has really helped me to move on and has also boosted my confidence.