A story of cruelty of a different kind...

ďhello, I donít want to bother you, but if you could please advise me?
I read a bit about you and your life. I am 20 and something similar is happening, I am so scared to run away or tell someone, but I want it to end so very badly. Could you suggest anything please?Ē it was signed simply ĎJadeí

As soon as I read the email I knew I would help the sender.

Since writing my life story and my book, I DID TELL I DID being published a few years ago, I had helped many readers of all ages, to either come forward, and tell someone what was happening or had happened to them. In some cases they just needed to off load to someone who had suffered in the same way they had. I think victims of sexual abuse know that other sufferers will understand. Helping others was after all the reason I DID TELL was written in the first place. I was happy to be able to be there for anyone who needed me.

It was a gloomy day the 31st May 2012 when this email arrived on my desk. I had walked up to my study with a heavy heart and switched on my computer. Itís a lovely room with double aspect so is quite bright. The walls are a warm creamy colour, the curtains are striped, cream, orange and charcoal, very 1930ís like the house we had moved into 2 years before. The floor is oak with a large comfortable rug in the centre. A peaceful space to work. In the corner of the room is a sofa and in front of the window, is a raised dog bed for my little chums, Ellie Mae and Cody, my Shih-tzus. They sit there happily for hours while I work.
The scenes from my windows are beautiful , looking out over fields, trees and the stream, towards where the mountains meet the sky, from the large window, out to the paddocks and our duck filled lakes from the small window. Breath-takingly beautiful.

But the day before this email arrived, the beauty had been tarnished. The month of May had ended with great sadness, my wonderful horse, Evening Star, whom I had known since her birth, 23 years ago and who had lived with us for 21 of those years, had left us for that Rainbow Bridge people talk about. I hope thatís true, Rainbow Bridge I mean. The loss was huge, the grief too heavy. On the 30th May the sunshine had gone out of my life and I needed to grieve.

The evening I lost this beautiful friend and companion, I had written on a social networking site, my feelings of great sadness and loss. I had many readers and friends who said they looked forward to my uplifting daily blog about my animals and my life Ďon the farmí. I felt I needed to let them know why I wouldnít be writing for a while. Allow myself time to work through my sadness and grief.

So it wasnít an ordinary day when this email arrived, ordinary days had stopped yesterday, ordinary, happy days.

2012 was supposed to be a happy year. Britain was staging the Olympics, the Queen was celebrating her Diamond Jubilee, we were all optimistic that things in life were getting better. But on that not an ordinary day, I wasnít feeling that way, I was fragile and vulnerable and sad.

I had no reason not to answer this email, no reason to suspect the horror that was to unfold after I had replied. My own grief and sadness would have to wait, someone needed me and I would reply.

I sat down and began typing.

ď Hi Jade. Please tell someone, someone you trust to believe and help you. What is happening is wrong.
If you need support please write back and I will see if I can do anything. But please tell someone.
A Doctor, a priest, your Mum, your Dad anyone whom you trust. If you canít do this, then ask a friend
to go with you to the police. They will make it stop.
Please keep in touch and let me know you are okay.
Love and hugs
Cassie ď

It was late, I didnít expect a reply, at least not as quickly as Jade answered me.

ďItís my Dad thatís hurting me. Though he isnít my real Dad, I donít know who he is,
he married my Mum, then adopted me when I was young. I canít tell my Mum as she
died in a car accident when I was 9, the age my Dad started this.
He says I should be lucky , and grateful to him because he has looked after me for the past 10 years. I know I should be thankful to him, so telling someone would be like me not being grateful(if you get me?) Then there is the thought of Ďwhy would anyone believe me, heís looked after me, and been kind to let me live with him, he wouldnít hurt me, Iím a trouble makerí

I have no-one.

I knew that feeling only too well, having no one. My heart went out to this poor girl.
ĎHi Jade
You do have someone now, you have me. Where aboutĎs are you? Not your actual address, just whereabouts, are you in the UK? Please write back and let me help you if I can. You are not alone now, you have me. This is the first step to this ending if you can be strong enough. The hardest thing is to tell someone and now you have. Yes, he was good to you in but he adopted you so any man would have looked after his daughter, whether adopted or not. He isnít looking after you by hurting you. You have no reason to feel grateful to someone who has abused you and your mumís trust by doing this to you.
Please write back to me and let me see what we can do together.
Take care
Cassie x
I sat there for a moment, how could she feel grateful to someone who was doing anything but looking after her! I know how abusers can lay the blame on their victims, how the child, in this case, can feel guilty for all kinds of reasons. But whatever was happening she needed help and that is what she would get. I waited for her reply and began to get myself ready for bed. I wasnít sleeping much but went through the usual routine, letting the dogs out for their last short run around the garden and then was going to put the computer to bed when I saw an email. Part of me wanted to leave it until the morning but I could sense the urgency in this girlís messages, checked that it was from her and sat down to read her reply.
ĎHello, I canít believe you want to help me. Iíve gone years thinking this is my problem, no one will care, Iím a bit overwhelmed.
I Am in the UK, Midlands. I would love for you to help me please, and I can try my best, though I donít think I am strong enough at all, I mean I let him hurt me. Itís my fault.
Thank you for the Ďemail hugsí itís much better than hugging a pillow. Nobody has hugged me since my mum died, so Iím going to return the hugs.
Iím so scared.
Thank you, and you take care
Jade x
My heart went out to her, no hugs for all those years. They say that there are no better hugs than those from your Mum, I wouldnít know that but Jade did and then her mum died and they stopped. I warmed to her straight away, she seemed so scared and needing help. There was a part of me that was angry, angry that her step father had been able to hurt her and then place the blame on her leaving her feeling that she had Ďlet himí. But anger helped no one and I had to help this girl and thatís what I intended to do.
I wrote a quick goodnight asking her to think of someone she could talk to, ask to help her. And then reluctantly went to bed.