Daddy raped me…

I was just a lit­tle girl – abused, starved and tor­tured...

Chat - - Inside - By Zoe, 22

Ev­ery­one has at least one fond mem­ory from their child­hood, right?

Build­ing sand­cas­tles on the beach, run­ning around the lo­cal park, cud­dles with Mum or Dad… Well, not me. My ear­li­est mem­ory is of my dad Colin Dar­ling­ton abus­ing me in the bath­tub.

I must have been around 18 months old.

And, as I splashed about in the wa­ter, Dad groped my pri­vate parts.

I was too young to un­der­stand what was go­ing on.

The story of my child­hood makes for dif­fi­cult read­ing...

As I got older, Dad’s abuse just be­came part of my ev­ery­day life.

He re­fused to let me sleep in a proper bed.

In­stead, I had to make do with a bare mat­tress on the cold, hard floor.

It was filthy and cov­ered in urine and vomit stains.

‘Dirty kids sleep on the floor,’ Dad would sneer. I didn’t dare ar­gue back. If I did, I’d feel the brunt of my dad’s fists.

My bi­o­log­i­cal mum had passed away when I was just a few months old.

My fa­ther had mar­ried my step­mother Rebecca shortly af­ter­wards.

But she was just as evil as Dad.

She’d stand back and watch as he kicked and smacked me.

‘You de­served that,’ she’d tut.

Then, when I was 3, Rebecca lifted me up and threw me onto the sofa.

Then she lifted up my nightie and watched as Dad raped me.

The pain was ex­cru­ci­at­ing.

‘Please, Dad, stop!’ I sobbed to him bro­kenly, ter­ri­fied.

‘Shut up!’ he shouted, ig­nor­ing my des­per­ate pleas.

Rebecca just watched, not say­ing a word.

When it was fi­nally over, they left me sob­bing my heart out. I was still too young to un­der­stand what’d hap­pened to me. But I was in so much pain, it was ab­so­lutely un­bear­able. I didn’t re­ceive any sym­pa­thy from Rebecca, though. ‘Stop snif­fling!’ she yelled at me. Over the next few years, Dad’s reign of ter­ror and abuse con­tin­ued. Rebecca even joined in. She’d push my face into Dad’s crotch, then touch me be­tween my legs. Dad would make me stand in the liv­ing room for hours on end, with my arms and legs spread apart. If he saw me get­ting tired, he’d hit me with a slip­per. And, while he and Rebecca tucked into meals ev­ery night, I went with­out. If I was lucky, they would feed me mouldy bread. But, most nights, I couldn’t sleep for my tummy growl­ing. They’d make me scrub the toi­let with a tooth­brush, too. ‘Now clean your teeth!’ Dad would bark. But the most scar­ring thing of all was when they forced me to watch them hav­ing sex. ‘Watch and learn,’ my dad

When it was over, they left me sob­bing in pain

would say harshly to me.

I hated it and couldn’t wait for it to be over.

And when­ever he raped me, Dad warned me not to tell any­one.

‘All dads do this to lit­tle girls,’ he told me. And, naively, I be­lieved him. Mean­while, Dad and Rebecca played the dot­ing par­ents to out­siders.

On my 5th birth­day, a next-door neigh­bour made me a birth­day cake.

‘How lovely,’ Rebecca smiled when they brought it over.

She and Dad made me pose for a photo with it.

Then, when our neigh­bour left, Rebecca tossed the cake into the bin and spat on it.

‘Now you can’t eat it,’ she snorted an­grily.

Evil.

Then, when I was 6, I was put into fos­ter care by So­cial Ser­vices.

I’m not sure who called them.

I was just re­lieved it was fi­nally over.

I was trau­ma­tised from the abuse, though.

I suf­fered ter­ri­ble night­mares and flash­backs.

Aged 8, I was taken to a po­lice sta­tion.

‘You need to tell the po­lice the truth about your dad and step­mum,’ my so­cial worker said gen­tly to me.

So I had to give a video state­ment – but I was still so young, I didn’t know what sex was.

I’d never even heard any­one use that word be­fore.

With­out the lan­guage to de­scribe what’d hap­pened to me, I didn’t tell them about the sex­ual abuse.

And I was trau­ma­tised by it – just wanted to block it out.

Af­ter that, I didn’t hear from the po­lice.

‘They don’t have enough ev­i­dence to pros­e­cute them,’ my fos­ter mum ex­plained.

Of course, I was up­set.

And over the next few years, as I grew older, I un­der­stood more of Dad’s abuse and just how wrong the things were that he’d done to me.

I felt sick­ened and dis­gusted.

How could a fa­ther do those ter­ri­ble things to his lit­tle girl?

And how could Rebecca – my own step­mother – stand back and watch it all hap­pen? When I was 15, it all got too much for me to keep in­side and I broke down to a teacher. ‘Dad raped me!’ I cried. My teacher was hor­ri­fied and called my fos­ter par­ents and the po­lice.

Once again, I had to make a state­ment to the au­thor­i­ties.

And, this time, I told the po­lice all about the sex­ual abuse that I’d suf­fered.

‘You’ve been very brave,’ my fos­ter mum said.

But we were later told there still wasn’t enough ev­i­dence to take the case to court. Again. I was in bits. ‘They’re get­ting away with it!’ I sobbed, dev­as­tated.

Dad and Rebecca had ru­ined my child­hood.

Things spi­ralled out of con­trol af­ter that.

In Novem­ber 2012, aged 17, I de­cided I just wanted to end it all.

I was ad­mit­ted to a psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal and di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion.

It was in­cred­i­bly tough – but, over the next nine months or so, I man­aged to pick my­self back up.

And in Au­gust 2013, I was fi­nally dis­charged.

Feel­ing so much stronger now, I knew that I didn’t want to sit back and do noth­ing.

My fa­ther and step­mother Rebecca had con­trolled, hu­mil­i­ated and de­graded me for years. But not any more. It was fi­nally time for me to fight for jus­tice.

I was trau­ma­tised – suf­fered night­mares, flash­backs

Gath­er­ing my courage, I wrote to my lo­cal MP Andy Saw­ford, beg­ging for help.

My long let­ter de­tailed ev­ery dis­gust­ing thing Dad and Rebecca had done.

‘It’s a long shot, but I’m des­per­ate,’ I told my fos­ter mum.

To my sur­prise, just a week on, I re­ceived a re­ply.

Mr Saw­ford agreed to look into the case.

Be­fore I knew it, I was called back to the po­lice sta­tion to give another state­ment.

I’d been down this road twice be­fore, though, and noth­ing had come of it. I was sure it’d hap­pen again. But I was wrong… ‘We’ve charged your dad and step­mum,’ an of­fi­cer said in 2014.

I couldn’t be­lieve it. I broke down in tears, so re­lieved.

Af­ter­wards, it be­came a wait­ing game for the trial.

I was told Dad and Rebecca were plead­ing not guilty.

So I pre­pared my­self to give ev­i­dence in court.

In Au­gust this year, Colin and Rebecca Dar­ling­ton, 52 and 46, ap­peared at court.

I just couldn’t bear to look at either of them. They dis­gusted me, made my skin crawl.

So I gave my ev­i­dence from be­hind a screen.

And, to my re­lief, the jury be­lieved me.

Dad was found guilty of two counts of rape and five counts of in­de­cent as­sault against me and another vic­tim.

He was sen­tenced to 10 years im­pris­on­ment.

Rebecca Dar­ling­ton was found guilty of two counts of in­de­cent as­sault against me and another vic­tim. She was jailed for eight years.

It turned out that, back in Novem­ber last year, Colin Dar­ling­ton had ap­peared in court for sep­a­rate of­fences re­lat­ing to yet another vic­tim.

He’d been jailed for 20 years af­ter be­ing found guilty of two counts of rape of a fe­male child un­der the age of 16, and 10 counts of in­de­cent as­sault.

De­spi­ca­ble.

The sen­tences will run con­sec­u­tively, mean­ing he’ll be in jail for 30 years. Jus­tice, of sorts. The truth was out and they’d been pun­ished.

But no sen­tence will ever undo the trauma that they’ve both caused me. I feel men­tally scarred by their abuse.

My fa­ther and step­mother de­stroyed so much of me. But I can’t let them win. They were sup­posed to be my par­ents, the peo­ple who should have looked af­ter me.

Yet they abused me in the sick­est and worst way pos­si­ble.

They’re not wor­thy of be­ing called Mum and Dad.

They de­stroyed so much of me... I can’t let them win

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Could my Just 3 – how do it? own fa­ther

My abuser So dis­gust­ing, he makes my skin crawl

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