timberland boots blue Brave Carlisle woman reveals sex abuse horror suffered as a child
One of those there to join in was Amanda Baillie, from Carlisle. When she was a child she went through some tough times and yearned for support like the NSPCC offers now.
“My mum started to send me to a friend of the family while she was busy and I enjoyed spending time with him. I was only three and I liked that he paid me lots of attention.
“It wasn’t long before he started to sexually abuse me. I was so young that I didn’t know any different and I thought that it happened to everyone but it confused me as he said it was our secret.
“Because he showered me with affection,
he made me feel special. It carried on until I was eight and someone started to have suspicions about what was happening.
“She said that she was going to tell the police but he committed suicide before the police became involved.
“I was still shaken up by that when my mum began leaving me with someone else. I knew by this point that the abuse was wrong and I hated it.
“I think the man knew about the other abuse but told me that if l spoke out again no one would believe me. I’d been caught stealing food as I wasn’t given enough to eat and he said that people already thought that l was a thief and a liar and they would think l was lying about this too.
He said that I would lose my family.
“I was also having a hard time at school because I was never dressed very well. The kids picked up on that and I was bullied. l had no friends sol didn’t know who l could turn to.
“I wish Childline online had been about when l was younger or that the Speak Out. Stay Safe. team went into schools so I could have spoken out at a younger age.
“Instead the abuse carried on until I was 13. l’d started self harming as a cry for help and a family friend spotted it.
“I found the courage to tell her what was happening. She supported me in telling the police but mum wouldn’t back me up and the case fell apart. It was a lot to go through without my mum’s support and I dropped out of school because of it. l wasn’t even able to do my GCSEs.
“The police didn’t refer me for any therapy and I went to the doctors for help but all they did was prescribe me Prozac.
“l’d developed an eating disorder as well because of what had happened to me but they just gave me nutritional drinks for that. lf l had been given help then things may have turned out differently but instead my life continued to go downhill.
“I was sent to stay with my mum’s sister who helped me a lot but I was still self harming and she had a family of her own to worry about so she sent me to live with my gran.
“I was 15 and drinking too much and doing drugs to try and black out what had happened. It was my way to numb out the pain.
“I moved in with a man who was about seven or eight years older than me and I got in with a bad crowd. My life was spiralling even more out of control.
“When I turned 16 I decided I wanted to find my dad. I lived with him for a bit but the relationship broke down. Being away from the bad crowd had given me the opportunity to turn my life around though.
“l still find it hard to trust people and to build up relationships but l’ve learned how to move forward in my life in a positive way.
“It’s a lifelong challenge that never goes away and time just teaches you to deal with it better. I have three amazing children and I get married soon and l just want to show people that you can come out of something like this the other end and still have an amazing life.
“There’s also still a taboo around sexual abuse and people would rather turn away than accept the enormity of the problem. That’s why I have decided to speak out about what happened to me and help to raise awareness and money for the NSPCC to help stop child abuse.”
Amanda has decided to raise funds for the charity by completing the Cumbrian Run next month.
“Anyone who knows me well knows that l barely exercise so my decision to do the Cumbrian Run half marathon may have come as a bit of a shock but I want to do everything l can to help other children,” she adds.
“The training is going really well and I find that running really helps me let go of things and clears my mind. The fact that I am doing the run to raise money to help stop abuse keeps me going even when I am finding it tough to carry on with the training.”The NSPCC Cumbria branch marked the 30th anniversary of setting up in Carlisle’s Chatsworth Square with a special party attended by staff,
volunteers and local dignitaries.