Free to be Children – Preventing child sexual abuse in Aotearoa New Zealand

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Unfortunately, this news triggered memories of her own abuse and she continuously cried. I blamed myself for hurting my mother and I was determined to never make her cry again. This decision meant allowing the abuse to continue until I was 15 years old.

I never talked to another adult for the longest time. In my mind I sang my nan’s song over and over again; it helped ease my pain. I would whisper to my nan: “You were right, this song does make me feel better.”

Eventually, I had had enough. I missed my nan and longed to “cross the river” to see her. I climbed to the top of a three-storey building and leapt. Mid-air my nan came to me and carried me down. I cried and screamed at her to let me cross the river, but she told me it  wasn’t my time. I landed with a thud and only hurt my wrist.

When I reached high school age I was sent to a boarding school. Most mornings the cooks would come to work and catch me in my pyjamas arguing with my nan, only they couldn’t see her. They saw only me, screaming into vacant spaces. Eventually, I was admitted to Tokaanui Psychiatric Hospital. “I am singing my song, Nan, I am.”

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