Part One can be found here.
I started puberty early, soon after my seventh birthday, and developed a much more “adult” shape than the girls around me, though I was quite oblivious at the time. My father started to pass comments about the way I dressed, and make peculiar statements that I didn’t understand properly about boys and not “showing” them my body. I didn’t understand any of it, it just made me feel vaguely dirty, weird and uncomfortable. He would have done better to explain his concern more clearly, I suppose. I had already by this point resigned him to the status of a paranoid in my mind (although I didn’t know the word, I couldn’t have told you what I thought he was, I just knew he wasn’t right) and these dark mutterings about boys and what they get up to just seemed like more twaddle. He’d use the same tones and get just as irate about Disney films like Aladdin because genies were “demons”. I could never trust my father’s risk assessment of situations, so grew up practically unadvised as there was no one I knew who earned their own money without being dependent on the money of others, who I could trust and turn to for help and support in carving out my own life path in that direction -which is what I always wanted and still do.
I didn’t trust him, and was afraid of him. I thought he thought I was dirty or a tart, that I wanted boys to look at me and feel “rude”. So when my uncle approached me and sexually abused me when I was eight years old, I believed him when he said that if I told my dad, my dad would punish me really severely and probably stop caring about what happened to me. My uncle has subsequently been found guilty of possession of child pornography and had two of his children adopted out of the family. More of my family members on my mother’s side socialise with him than they do with me. His mother, my grandmother, pays for his sports cars so that he doesn’t “kill himself”. He is more or less unemployable because of what he has done. He has since had two more children, and the last I heard is living in a “scouts honour” situation where his wife is deemed strong enough by social services to enforce the boundaries he is supposed to keep around the children. His wife is dependent on their marriage in order to be able to stay in the U.K. as she is originally of Filipino nationality. She was advised as to the full natures of his crimes by a social worker with a translator while she was giving birth to her first child by him, after they were married.
I felt sick at what had happened. I may have started acting differently in school, I don’t recall, but I started being bullied pretty soon afterwards. For about two years I spent my time in school mostly alone, miserable, reading or pacing around the playground perimeter, if I couldn’t focus on reading. My father paid for his correspondence degree in Theology upfront out of the family income top-up we were receiving on top of his salary. This meant that we lived in a kind of enforced poverty where he spent the majority of the household money on himself. We had to wear hand-me-downs, boys clothes, cheap stuff, and of course it all had to be “modest”; so we looked really dorky too. We were bullied mercilessly for being “scruffs” – often by kids from families even poorer than ours who just prioritised their children more when it came to spending. Mum had to cut our hair, my head never saw a professional hairdresser til I won £850 on a quiz machine in Wales when I was thirteen. He promised us all our young lives that the sacrifices we we making would be rewarded in time. He is currently a Media Studies instructor at a university, and a trade union activist, with his own home, fat pension, gym membership, brand new car etc and is well respected in the local Protestant community (who don’t know anything about his home life, because it’s alllll in the family). One of his daughters is potentially being moved to a personality disorder clinic in Wales after multiple lethal suicide attempts, the other couldn’t stand him and moved out to live with me when she was 17, and I got kicked out myself when I was 16 years old. My mother divorced him last year. Nobody ever got anything back.
I had my first breakdown when I was ten years old. My birthday hadn’t been too long ago, and I’d gone shopping with my mother for an outfit to wear for the Christmas disco, out of my birthday money off my grandmother. I just wanted the kids to see me in something nice, and cool, and treat me nicely for once. Because I was a kid, and that’s how kids feel about things. I got this skirt that I thought was boss, purple wrap around silky-stuff, knee length but not dorky. We used to have to show our father all our new clothes on us so he could make sure they passed inspection. I was so happy that day when I went shopping, ecstatic to have something to wear that I liked, and my mum said was nice, too. I was so happy. I thought he was bound to like it too, but he didn’t. He said I was starting to look like a slut, and it was making him so sad to see me “desiring” such things. He confiscated the glitter nail polishes this one girl who tried to be my friend bought me for Christmas as part of his “concern”. I told her, because she was asking why I never wore any, and she started being cruel and getting everyone else in on it. One of her mates pushed me on the floor and another dumped crisps over my head. I just sat and stared through them until everyone got sick of laughing and went away. I went home, and a tiny dispute with my sister, and my father’s reaction, sent me west. I started howling in front of my father, screaming at him not to hit me, just screaming and crying until I couldn’t breathe properly and the jagged breaths started and my head went dizzy.
I don’t remember much else of what happened, but a school transfer was arranged as a result of the incident. I had been asking for one repeatedly for over a year.