Wednesday 21 March 2018

'I live in dread of seeing that man. He stole my innocence, my childhood, my memories'

"Like most young girls, I expected to get married and have children when I grew up. Most of my friends have done this, but when I was being abused this didn't seem possible for me anymore.

This had such an effect on my that I tried to commit suicide in my teens.

After years of boring repetitive jobs I realised that I wanted more and was capable of more. With help I applied for, and got a job as carer in a major hospital. For the first time in my life, I really applied myself to study, and despite my lack of basic education, I got my formal qualification. I worked very successfully in this role and loved my job.

Then I received a major shock. I saw in the newspaper that he was charged and sent to jail for sexual abuse.

It all came flooding back to me. I couldn't concentrate, I was thinking about it all the time. I found that in work I couldn't deal with anything that was in any way intimate with patients, such as washing or changing them. I became extremely stressed, developed health problems, and after some time, attempted suicide again.

I have been lucky enough to have found a husband who is understanding and supportive. Nevertheless, I worry all the time about how our marriage can last.

I find that I'm not capable of any kind of intimacy with my husband even though I really love him. Any time we try to be intimate, I keep remembering my abuser's face over me and we have to stop. I'm worried about how long he'll stay with me if this continues.

Thoughts of my abuse come into my head every day. Every time I see my body I hate it. I have almost no self-esteem. I live in dread of people finding out what happened to me.

I still feel guilt that I allowed the abuse to continue, even though my counsellors tell me that paedophiles are extremely cunning and expert at brainwashing their victims. I live in dread of seeing that man.

He stole my innocence, my childhood, my memories, my chance of an education and prospects for the future. He ensured I would have difficulties with relationships for the rest of my life. His abuse puts my marriage at risk daily and denies me the chance of children. Whatever sentence is imposed on that man, he should realise that he has imposed a sentence on me that I will continue to serve until the day I die."

Irish Independent

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