I had not done anything wrong. I was a normal teenager but my parents couldn’t deal with that. My mother had mental health problems which she still struggles with and she would constantly lie to my father about things I had said or done. I had two younger brothers, one of which was severely disabled. This put a lot of pressure on me as I was the oldest. I had more responsibility although I was just a child being 8 when he was born! My mother really struggled and over the coming years it would be me that did the cleaning cooking and generally running of the house, sometimes not allowing me to go to school as there was too much for me to do at home! She would however always lie to my father and say that I had done awful things all day! One day after school my father’s friend’ picked me up to take me home, this was unusual but I got in the car anyway after all he was his friend! He drove in the opposite direction to my house and raped me in back of his car. My whole life changed in that moment. I was just 13. I became a different person, scared and unable to talk to anyone. I just tried to accept life and get on with it.
When I was 14 I met a boy who was 17. He ended up becoming my boyfriend and he made me realise that my life wasn’t normal. You could say that I rebelled. I wanted to go out and see him and I wanted a normal life like the girls I knew at school. I eventually realised that I was being locked away and kept away from him as my parents didn’t agree with our relationship. I had no phone and no friends and when I went to school my mother would make teachers keep me inside to stop the possibility of me seeing him. I would often run away because I was so depressed and upset, but that would always end in horror often with my dad giving me a beating and even on one occasion he ran me over with his car to stop me!!
It all came to a blow eventually and the police were called and I was taken to hospital! My parents didn’t want anything to do with me anymore, I had disrespected them! I was treated in hospital for head injuries and with a police officer by my side and I’d never felt so alone! I remember sitting in the hospital waiting room with people staring at me. I had a black eye which covered nearly the entire left hand side of my face. All I kept thinking was they probably think I’m an awful person fighting with people when in actual fact it was my father who had caused these injuries! I was discharged with nowhere to go and it was late on a Friday night. I was vulnerable therefore I was taken to the local police station until a decision about my future could be made. I remember the policeman that had been with me in the hospital stayed with me even though his shift was over. We sat in the police station staff room watching tv and blowing up balloons (it was another Officers birthday). He just generally tried cheering me up and reassuring me that my dad wouldn’t be able to hurt me again.
That night at the age of 14 I was taken into the foster care system. I was taken in a police car to a foster family over 70 miles from my home. They were nice but it was such a weird few weeks for me. I wasn’t allowed to talk to friends from home. I spent everyday with my foster dad shopping and gardening – something that I loved to do but hadn’t been able to for a very long time. I then got the news I would be going home to my parents. I spent the next 3 months between going home to my parents where the same thing would happen again and again, and then to different foster families! My mother was very deceitful and would give the image to my social worker that it was the perfect family home.
Eventually aged 15 I was placed permanently with a foster carer on the Isle of Wight! My life then changed! That foster carer became my mum! I had a family now and I could have a childhood again! I could experience life as a teenager without the worry of where I would be the next week! We had regular days out to the beach, the zoo and just playing around in the garden with her dogs and daughter. I started going to school again and became focused on changing my life. She help me after school to catch up with work that I had missed in my final 2 years of schooling. I was at school for less than 5 months but with her help and support I passed all my GCSE’s with B’s and C’s! She is the reason my experience in care was an amazing one! The only consistent thing I had was her. Social workers came and went with many of them never even meeting me! I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my experience. It’s made me a better person! I still keep in contact with my foster mum! Normally a few times a year although we are friends on social media sites so always knowing what is going on in our lives and that each other are okay! I know I can trust and depend on her if I need her she is there!! Even 3 years after leaving care I found myself homeless and she took me in! I will never be able to thank her enough for the life she has given me and the person she turned me into. I will always love her!