Liam endured years of physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of his mother’s partner. After almost two  decades of suffering, he found the courage to speak up.

Summers always seemed much hotter when I was a kid. Like you knew you could depend on the weather. We would spend the whole summer at our caravan, it was right on the beach. 

We would spend all day there, just running into to get a jam sandwich in-between  swims and sand castle building. I loved the beach, its still my go- to –place. Those summers were precious, just the three of us, my little sister me and my mum, we didn’t have much, we didn’t need anything more,  life was perfect. 

It all changed that year  and on that holiday when my mum  met her new man . 

It was ok at the start, he wanted to be my friend. Teaching me to dive, buying me a snorkel, I grew close to him. Thought he was cool. 

He moved in with us pretty much straight away and with my mum working long shifts at the hospital cleaning, he would  look after us . He let me stay up late , make popcorn, then one night he let me watch a horror film, the film was far too scary, I didn’t want to be alone and he let me stay in his bed. I felt safe there , but not for long . the abuse started that same night.

From that night I was alone, I felt permanently alone, wherever and whoever I was with.

I feared losing my mum and my sister, I did whatever he said so that our little secret meant I could still have a family. I wanted him to accept me, although I was really scared of him, I didn’t want to do anything wrong, that would upset him.

I so wanted it to stop, for him to go away, I just hoped someone would notice, I couldn’t  speak out, not myself, I just didn’t think anyone would believe me. 

He told me I deserved it, that my mum didn’t love me. But he was my mums boyfriend, it seemed normal. I believed I was worthless. 

I left as soon as I could, convinced no one would believe me. 

My mum had another baby really late, I was in my twenties by then. I couldn’t stop my abuse but I could try and stop him abusing others.

The team at One in Four helped me make a Garda statement. They talked though the process, and even set up the meeting for me. It was in their office so it felt safe, they didn’t rush me. That day changed my life, One in Four helped me find my voice and now my family are safe. 

I stayed with One in Four for many years. I went through Therapy and was supported the whole way through the Criminal Court process by the Advocacy team. They really understand the legal system, and made it all less initiating, less stressful.

Childhood shapes who we become, abuse never should. If you or an adult you know has been sexually abused as a child One in Four can help. Call them. 

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