My transformation — in a nutshell

Abuse changes a person, in ways that you are never the same as before. For me, I ended my abuse at the age of 21 but the perpetrators didn’t face prosecution and continued to deny ever putting their hands on me!

There were several abusers, all within the family, except one — the neighbour.

The others were my father, a brother, and a stepbrother. Then my stepmother, stepsister, and the man next door.

I say it changed me, and it did — I was always a bit of a loner and developed problems with trust and people leaving me. I couldn’t let anyone touch me, not even safe touch…because of the what’s ifs? What if they tried to hurt me or what if they left?

A positive change though was my attitude to life and how I am learning to adjust to this new me! I grew up being afraid of what I would wear and how I would wear my hair. T-shirts and jeans or tracksuits — nothing that would encourage anyone, or at least that is what I had hoped!

As the years went on, I began to allow myself to heal, to be happy and to live again. Doing as I please and not being afraid of what I wore.

They robbed me of my soul but even though nobody faced a jury, I’m living in my truth while they are either deceased or living with what they did and what they allowed others to do!!

This section had just been edited and trauma-related incidents added

Throughout my whole childhood, I experienced daily beatings from my stepmother, who thought it was acceptable to be such a violent and vicious human being. At another time she allowed her daughter, my stepsister to viciously beat me in the next room, while family members listened but ignored my cries.
My stepsister also made me kneel down with my hands behind my back, while allowing her son to beat me — her audience, my family watching on!!

The sexual abuse was and is something I struggle with, a struggle to accept and understand, but on my 16th birthday, trapped in the family home with my father led to him carrying out his threat to rape me. I was raped several times by him and my stepbrother.
When I left home aged 21, and soon after, I miscarried. Yes, I was pregnant.
Unfortunately, I went down a road that saw me drinking too much alcohol and taking tablets, anything to end the pain. A few times I had taken an overdose and on one occasion ended up in hospital.

Over the years, I was told everything happens for a reason but I couldn’t comprehend that — why did they do such things? There is no reason to accept these actions!

But now, I look at it with my fresh eyes and — yes things do happen for a reason, not sure of the reason but I am stronger because of what I went through and I can, without guilt or shame, tell my story because I am the one smiling (most of the time)

I write this piece to give you, the reader an insight into me and who I am! I am not a victim but a survivor. I try being mindful of other survivors of abuse because of triggers!!

In January 2020 I decided to have a go at writing a poem as something to do! I never saw myself as any kind of writer and certainly not a poet. However, by January 2021, I had been selected to have two poems published in The Beckindale Poetry Journal and The Cambridge Poetry Journal.

This was the beginning of my writing journey. Now, two years on — I have lost count of how many poems I have written and I now can’t imagine a life without words, my words…A life without my story being told!

Every single person, male or female and who has been abused, are warrior — survivors!



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Debra Reay

Debra Reay

Writer, Poet and survivor of childhood abuse! Author of poem's~A Child Unloved and Soul Destroyed. Hopefully one day, I will get a book published!