I can’t remember how old I was when the sexual abuse started,but it had always been part of my life and felt quite normal. I guess I can start my story at around 5 years old.

I remember my ( brother ) who was 6 years older than me, telling me that when he was next babysitting us for my parents we were going to play ‘mummies and daddies’. Obviously I agreed because I didn’t understand what was involved.

So let’s say from the age of approximately 5 to approximately 15 I was used as a sex toy to his gratification, whether we were alone in the house or whether my mum, dad, and two sisters were home, it didn’t matter to him.

The abuse was constant every day, sometimes twice, three or four times a day, whenever he liked.

The abuse only stopped when I was about 15 because I found the courage to say no.

But it never left me, I was shy, quiet, rude, sad, confused, guilty, ashamed and every other word I could use to express my self-loathing.

I married at 21 and had my daughter 23, and I was so pleased she was a girl, I don’t think I would have felt the same if she had been a boy, I would have had a problem with a male ‘inside me’ so my daughter is my only child.

I struggled through all of my life, I felt devastation I couldn’t explain or understand. I never disclosed my secret to anyone, I wanted a ‘normal life’ and didn’t want to bring shame to my family.

So fast forward 30 years, and I finally disclosed to my younger sister, only because my brother was upsetting her and I got angry. I found telling my parents so difficult, but I knew the time had come and I was doing the right thing.

So I then reported to the police, and he was taken in for questioning, and he denied everything (as they do). I was devastated again.

Eventually, I found myself in crown court being cross-examined, and sadly he was found not guilty.

But I found the courage, I’m not sure where from, to go to court a second time. This time he was found guilty by majority of 11/1. He is now serving a 10-year sentence for his crime.

IT’S NEVER TO LATE TO TELL YOUR SECRETS

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