I still find it hard to talk about what happened. I am afraid that people won’t understand or believe me.

She was the babysitter for me and my brothers when I was growing up.

She lived up the road from us, my parents really liked and trusted her.  And because she was in her early 20’s and had a nice car, I thought she was impossibly cool.

She started to abuse me when I was about 11 years old. It started by giving me extra attention and thinking she was making me feel special, but it just made me feel horrible, I knew the abuse was wrong.

She made me promise not to tell my parents or my brothers, threatening that they wouldn’t believe me and that I would be taken away from my family if I told anybody.

She seemed to control my whole world . I didn’t tell anyone , I withdrew from my family and my mates. I even stopped going to GAA practice because I didn’t want to get changed around the lads. I felt ashamed of my body. I was paranoid all the time.

I’ve carried so much shame about what happened. When I was around 16 years old, I tried to tell some of my mates about what happened, but because she was an older girl, they didn’t think it was serious and they just laughed it off.

I didn’t tell anybody else about it until I was about 20, then I found out about One in Four and started therapy. It took a while but they were there for me every step of the way.

The effects of the sexual abuse she inflicted on me had been massive. I realised through therapy how much it had affected my relationship with my parents. And not just them,  I  couldn’t trust anybody, never mind be intimate with someone.  

Having somewhere like One in Four to go to meant everything.

The charity offer both Therapy and Advocacy support, and I cannot thank One in Four’s Advocacy team enough . They where there for me when I wanted to report the abuse to the Gardai and helped me understand the legal system. They made me feel less alone in carrying this burden.

They understand, they care and they believe. I finally feel like things are looking up for me.

One in Four are fortunate to be able to support hundreds of survivors each year like Cillian. That’s only possible because of the amazing support from people like you. You can be there for the next person who needs  help by donating today.

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