This is Calais' story.

I am a survivor of sexual, mental and physical abuse.

I can’t remember what life was like before my trauma started, I was 5 years old when my father started to sexually abuse me.  At the age of 8 that’s when I realised that this was abuse. It was drilled into me to not tell anyone and I thought I was never going to get out of it and be set free, I thought it was my fault.

I would try my best to push back all of the bad flashbacks, nightmares and pain at school. However I would misbehave, I was always known as just that “naughty kid” but in reality I thought by misbehaving someone would notice my pain, and someone would notice I was being abused.

The abuse went on for a decade, during this time I didn’t feel strong enough to be able to tell anyone in my family or the police, I suffered from severe anorexia and planned suicide. At the time I didn’t feel like I had much purpose in life, I didn’t think anything was ever going to get better, I felt like I was drowning in the secrets and felt like I couldn’t be set free of my abuse. 

Until one day when I found this sudden burst of bravery and strength I revealed to my mother that my father had sexually abused me for 10 years, I truly believe this is when my life changed for the better. My mother helped me to change my life. She was unaware of the abuse so when I told her, I could see her whole world falling apart, but she remained strong for me.  It was the first time I have ever felt proper relief, I felt free, I felt in control.

I worked with the police for nearly two years to get my abuser in jail and he was sentenced to 12 years.

Since then I feel stronger and healthier than ever. I finished school, went to college, and now I’m at university studying criminology and psychology, although this is always something that’s going to be with me, and it does effect me every single day, I know I’m winning this battle. If it wasn’t for my mother I don’t think I’d be here to tell my story, she saved and changed my life and its something I’ll forever be grateful for.

Although I’ve been through a hellish experience it has really inspired me to help others. I’m in the process of writing a book about my journey to help others. I’m not scared to share my story, I no longer feel ashamed and embarrassed. If you are suffering you’re not alone and although it’s hard, you will get through this, please speak up.

I had a sexual violence advisor which really helped me, The Survivors Trust is something I will forever be thankful for.