Sixty years ago I was failed by services set up to protect children like me. The same services are still failing abused children today.
About the age of four, I remember running to my mam after I had fallen and cut a deep gash in my wrist on a broken bottle. Blood was pumping from the wound and I was scared. Mam was livid when she saw the blood. ‘Look what you have done now you gormless bastard, blood everywhere and I have just fucking cleaned up.’ she screamed, as she slapped me around and pulled at my hair. She dragged me by the hair across the room to the bottom of the stairs and kicked me until I scuttled off upstairs as fast as I could. ‘Get up the fucking stairs before I kill you!’ she screamed. ‘Don’t let me catch sight of your fucking ugly face again today or else or I will give you something to cry for’. Eventually, either from a moment of sympathy or fear of the trouble she might be in if I was to bleed to death, she came in the bedroom and roughly tied a handkerchief around my wrist. With no words of comfort she left me in the bedroom and slammed the door shut behind her. It was just another long lonely night like I had often experienced. The bedroom had taken the place of my cot and it now had become my cell. I saw ghosts in that room which made me feel even more afraid when I was locked in there without a light. Even in the day light the room had its ghosts and I could see them.
Never once my mother utter kind words of comfort. I have no memories of her ever cuddling me because she never did. Never once put her arms around me or touch me gently. Never once did she stroke my brow or try to comfort me. And never once did she say she loved me and I was desperate for her to love me.
Every child needs love and attention to enable them to thrive. All children need to know that they are safe and they need a secure environment where the can develop and grow in confidence. Children need love and affection because without they struggle to thrive. I was starved of love and affection and was underweight and small for my age. This is because a child without love and affection will not grow mentally or physically.
I woke up early one sunny morning and I noticed a door had appeared on the wall opposite my bed, a door that had not been there the night before. I pulled my blankets right up around my face, so that I could peek out to watch the newly appeared door. As I watched, I noticed the door opening and out stepped a woman. She wore clothes like my mother would wear and she had curlers in her hair. she stood and stared at me with her arms folded as I laid there peeking from under the blankets. I thought my heart would explode with the terror I felt as I watched her. I knew she was a ghost . Eventually, fear got the better of me and I ran screaming to my mothers room. Mam! Mam! She was not in her bed and her bed was undisturbed. Mam often went out at night to go drinking and not return home at the end of the night, so there was nothing unusual not seeing her in her bed. I ran down the steep flight of stairs, to the front door, which was open, and screamed into the empty street, Mam!! The next and last thing I remember, was this woman that appeared from the door in the wall, carrying me back up the stairs and saying to me ‘Don’t be afraid, I am not going to hurt you’, in a really gentle voice. I felt like I was floating back up the stairs. I was to see many more ghosts throughout my life.
The National Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and the Welfare people were frequent visitors to our house during the time I was being abused by my mam and dad. They would often remove me and my siblings from my parents care usually when mam disappeared on her drinking binges and dad could not be found to take care of us. I spent the majority of my early years in and out of care.
At aged four I was taken back to a children's home and I was happy about that. I would rather be anywhere than near my mother who, if she was not beating and screaming at me she was trying to drown me which I remember her doing.
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- A Life Worth Living; Chapter Five
Rescued from my violent home life I was put into care and introduced to Jane and David. They cared for me and I felt loved but I was sent home to my abusive mother.
- A Life Worth Living; Chapter Three
Life is meant to be lived, not endured. This is my childhood which is like many children's lives today. My start in life was about survival of daily abuse and neglect. This is my life and why I am who I am.
- A Life Worth Living; Chapter Two.
Born into poverty and an abusive home. This is my story of surviving abuse and how my life was impacted because of abuse.
- A Life Worth Living; Chapter One
Born into a violent home, I was given last rites within hours of my birth. My first day of life was a battle to survive and there were more battles of survival to come. This is my journey of survival.