My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a harrowing story of two sisters. One older than the other. The eldest being the protector.
Their father was a drunk, he would go missing for days on end, on his return he would beat up their mother.
When their mother was taken away, they had to temporarily go into care. They land at a home where a woman unsmiling takes them in. [I don't know much about the social care system back then but I did wonder if they did checks on homes? she seemed a very formidable woman at the door without a very nice greeting which I would have thought the social worker would have picked up on......maybe its just me as an adult looking through adult eyes]
It turns out, the woman who is supposed to 'care' for them abuses them in not only a sexual way but also in a punishing way. Her husband is introduced and he too starts with the sexual abuse.
When they were able to return to their mother and father, they would looking forward to it in one way, but not in another.
One night their father returns in a drunken stupor and sexually abuses the oldest sister.
I will take you up in time now to a flat they live in. Their mother has to go out with their little brother everyday due to work. They are left alone and the older of the sisters left to care for they youngest who is 2/3 years old.
Upstairs there lives a young man who seems to be in the flat more than he is out of it, he isn't the father of the child that lives there. Not much is mentioned about his girlfriend/wife, but he seems to be the sole carer of this little girl. The little girl wants to play Cindy dolls with her younger sister and goes upstairs, when her older sister [who is only about a couple of years older] goes to find her, she sees the man on top of her little sister indecently assaulting her.
I do find it hard and I have been trying to focus my mind on reading this through a scared child's eyes, but I don't understand how she could continue to allow her younger sister to carry on going upstairs to play with the little girl and her take the sexual abuse instead of her. Why not stay away? The man never tormented them or called them, his door was always open yes, but they went in uninvited all to the exception of the little girl her was carer of.
I got a bit confused and had so many questions along the way.
I am aware there is no excuse, NONE WHAT SO EVER for the abuse of a child, for the abuse of ANYONE, but I wonder in the relaying of this story things were not as precise and as clear to the reader as it appeared to Debbie Grafham who told her story.
I don't want or wish to undermine anything that went on, no siree, no way, but I do have a lot of unexplained questions.
Taking this to court many years later was the right thing to do and I am glad things turned out as they did, however, for someone who has been abused, it stays with you forever.
I wish her and her family well.
I just think the telling of the story needs some rounding out and maybe some explanations even from the author as a grown person now explaining to the reader why actions were taken or even, not knowing why they weren't taken.
Like any story such as this, its hard to read, but encouraging that its theraputic to the healing process.
I would like to thank Random house via Net Galley for the chance to read this book
I was nine and the big sister. I wanted to keep her safe. He basically promised me that if I let him abuse me, he wouldn't touch my sister again.'
Debbie Grafham’s childhood had been far from normal, but when she was just nine years old her life changed forever. Debbie discovered that her neighbour was abusing her younger sister, Laraine – and there was a price to pay to make him stop. Alone and scared, she made a decision that was to haunt her life, and send her spiralling out of control. But after nearly forty years of harbouring her shocking secret, Debbie found the courage to tell her sister and together they made the decision to fight for justice.
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