Friday, 29 January 2016


On the evening of Sunday 11th September 2005 I went to bed feeling fine.
With in a few hours, I was vomiting and in pain, I felt tired but I couldn't sleep, my neck and back hurt and my headache was unlike any headache I'd ever suffered before.
On the morning of Monday 12th September (the next day) my symptoms were a lot worse.
I was so ill I couldn't look at the light as it hurt my eyes, even the day-light outside was a strain on them.
I couldn't even get my 5 year old daughter ready for school and take her that, instead I had to ask my mother who was visiting at the time.
I was scared, I didn't know what was wrong.
At the time I lived less than a minutes walk from my doctor.
I somehow managed to get to him, he examined me and told me to go straight to hospital as he thought I had meningitis.
I went home and my parents drove me to hospital, stopping at least 5 times during the 20 minute drive there as I was violently vomiting.
I arrived at A&E, rather than taking a seat and waiting, they took me straight through to the doctors.
I was examined and admitted with meningitis.
I was taken to an isolation room.
My parents were allowed in after about 3 hours but only while wearing white gowns and face masks.
I was given a lumbar puncture, a procedure where I had to lie on my side with my legs lifted up to my chin and a needle is inserted into the lower part of the spine.
Fluid is withdrawn for testing.
The procedure took approximately 30-45 minutes to complete..
Next I was attached to an IV drip where antibodies were used to kill the bacteria.
Apparently I don't have very good visible veins so trying to insert the IV drip took sometime.
I was poked and prodded and all while I was vomiting in between.
The nurse tried to insert the IV drip on my hand and failed so tried the other and yet again failed.
Then she tried via my arm and failed, she then tried the other arm but again failed.
Then a doctor tried my hands and arms and he too failed.
Eventually he was able to attach the IV drip through my foot.
I was bruised due to the failed attempts.
I was in hospital, in the isolation room for a total of 5 days and during that time I was parted from my 5 year old daughter.
Only my parents were allowed to visit.
I was heartbroken, not being able to hold, hug and kiss my little girl.
Eventually I recovered and I was allowed home.


Meningitis is the inflammation of the lining to the brain and spinal cord which are protected by membranes.
Membranes are structures that act as a lining of protection, or partition in an organism.

There are two types of meningitis; bacterial and viral.
Bacterial is the most serious of the two.

Symptoms of bacterial meningitis can develop hours or over a few days.
Early symptoms can mimic flu like symptoms.

Signs to look for in birth to 2 years;
High fever, constant crying, sluggishness, lack of appetite, excessive sleepiness, a bulge in the soft spot on the top of the baby's head also known as the fontanel, stiffness in the body and neck.

Signs to look for in 2 years to adulthood;
Stiff neck, sensitivity to light, no appetite, no thirst, headache, nausea/vomiting, high fever, seizures, concentration difficulty, sleepiness/hard to wake, (sometimes but not always) a rash.

Viral meningitis also known as non bacterial meningitis is less serious but still a worry.
The cause can be a number of different viruses.
Adults can get it but mostly its just children..

The signs to look for in both children and adults are;
Headache, fever, stiff neck, sore throat, fatigue, rash (but not always).

Symptoms can appear with in one week of exposure.


Sunday, 17 January 2016

Story of A Child Abuse Survivor

This is one woman's story,
A woman who fought not once but twice against abuse, first as a child and second as an adult.
Told by "ANON"
Names and dates have been changed to secure the identity of the woman and others mentioned here.
Growing up in the 70s was hard at times.
I had a mother who was verbally abusive, a father who was physically abusive and two siblings.
My siblings were the "apple of my mother's eye" where as I was the "black sheep of the family" but it wasn't always like that.
As children my siblings and I had a love/hate relationship but most of the time we got along great.
I remember having hugs from my parents, I remember my mother reading stories to me.
I remember linking arms with my father as we walked in the street,
I remember my father saying prayers with me at night before tucking me in to bed.
But at the young age of 10 everything changed.
We were living in a quaint little village that featured one shop, one post office, one pub and one church.
Like most secluded areas everyone knew one another.
There was one person who my parents became friends with, an elderly man in his 70s, I call him HE or HIM.
HE doesn't deserve a name, he is nothing, he no longer exists.
Why......because HE sexually abused and raped me almost daily for 2 years.
The abuse happened in his home, my home and also his place of work.
HE worked at the local church, he would organise the outfit for the priest and light candles before mass started.
HE was a holy man but despite his beliefs that didn't stop him using me, an innocent child, for his own personal enjoyment.
My mother used to cook meals for him, sometimes breakfast but mostly dinner.
She would say to me "go tell HIM his food is ready" so I'd go to his house or the church to find him.
I remember the first time HE touched me.
It was in the church.
We were alone.
We were trying to pass one another through the same doorway and as we were close by HE suddenly touched down below.
It wasn't just mistake, it was a tight grip on my vagina.
I froze, I didn't know what to do or say.
No one had done that to me before and it felt odd.
A person had touched me in a place I'd not touched myself before at that age unless bathing.
I pretended it didn't happen, I carried on as normal.
A few days later my mother sent me to get HIM again.
This time he was at his house, about 5 minutes walk from my house.
As I walked there I didn't think about what had happened, I had forgotten about it.
When I arrived at his house HE asked me in while HE waited for the news on the television to end.
I didn't like his house, it was dirty and it smelt.
I stood against the door, not wanting to sit in the torn and broken chair.
The news ended and suddenly HE was stood in front of me.
His tall, thin body was pressed hard against mine.
As I tried hard to wriggle away I couldn't, although HE was in his early 70s he was strong.
HE made sexual movements against my body, which as I got older realised HE was somehow trying to have sex with me but through our clothes.
After what seemed like a long time, HE came close to my face and said "this is our little secret so don't tell anyone"
At the age of 10 I didn't know why this was happening, what was happening or why I had to keep this secret.
The following day HE was sat at our kitchen table next to me.
With one hand using a fork to eat his food, his other hand was under the table rubbing between my thighs, touching my vagina.
I was to scared to move, the previous day I was pinned against the door in his house by his body and I couldn't wriggle free.
This time, at the table, I wanted to stand up and say "stop doing that to me" I wanted the table to be invisible so my parents would see what HE was doing and send him away but once again I froze.
Three days later, in his house again the situation got worse.
I was stood in the living room against the door, HE pushed his body against mine but this time HE pushed me into the bedroom, the room next door.
HE pulled my cord trousers down by my knees and flung me on the bed then HE climbed on top of me.
I was scared and this time I was crying but HE ignored my wimpers.
Suddenly I felt a sharp pain between my legs, it was sore and intense, it lasted for some time, over and over - he was having sex with me!
I tried to lift my hands from my stomach to push him off but his body was on them, they were wedged and I couldn't move.
After HE finished doing what HE was doing to me HE said "don't tell anyone, its our secret and I'll be very angry with you if you do"
I was too scared to say anything to anyone.
From then on and for the next two years, HE repeatedly sexually abused and raped me almost everyday.
I would go to school with a packed lunch from my mother but I'd leave it under the seat of the school bus, I stopped eating when anyone was around me.
I felt sick putting food in my mouth in front of people simply because it reminded me of when HE often touched me while at the table.
Even now, years later I still feel embarrassed and sickened to eat in front of other people.
I stopped going to church because of the memories there and despite being raised Catholic I now consider myself atheist.
One day while watching television I saw an advert for "child line" I decided that at school the next day I would use the public phone and ring the free phone number.
The next day, I rang child line...
I was silent on the phone, I knew what I wanted to say but the words wouldn't come out (I was now 12).
I rang again the next day, the lady had a soothing voice and was patient with me so eventually I opened up and told her what HE was doing to me.
She calmly advised me to tell an adult I trust and like.
That evening I rang my aunty and told her everything and what child line had said.
She told my parents.
That is when my relationship with them changed forever and it was because of HIM.
My parents drove me in silence to the local police station.
I was led into a room alone with female officer.
She told me never to tell lies about someone well liked in the community ever again.
She then led me back to my parents and told them it was one big mistake, nothing happened.
My parents drove me home in silence.
The abuse was never talked about with me or anyone.
The abuse only ended when we moved house.
I felt my parents either didn't believe me or they simply chose to ignore it.
There were no more hugs, stories, linking of arms, prayers or being tucked into bed.
I wanted their attention but I never got it so I decided to do things where I knew they'd notice and I'd finally get the attention even if it was wrong.
I hung around the "wrong" crowd at school, I smoked and went to local drug-dens with my so-called friends, I didn't take drugs apart from smoking tobacco, I drank alcohol, I kissed another girl and I stole from my parent's money box.
But they didn't notice.
However they noticed the money was gone, and my dad beat me.
I was hit, kicked, punched and from then on whenever anything went mussing (even when I wasn't to blame) I still got shouted at and beaten.
Although I'm an adult now and HE is dead I still have a raw relationship with my parents.
Only a couple of years back, I broke down and told one of my siblings what happened when I was a child.
My sibling shocked me by saying "I knew something was going on but you weren't believed and I was younger, I didn't think anyone would believe me"
I don't hate my sibling for not speaking up years ago, I understand the reasons why and I love my sibling very much.
Even now, I still sometimes have bad dreams.
If I smell a certain smell or hear a certain sound I'm reminded of my past.
When I'm in the company of my parents I feel like I'm reverted back to that scared little girl again.
I hate my body and often I think I'm dirty, disgusting and some days I have to have 3 or 4 showers in the one day because I sense his smell is on my skin.
I don't trust many people, I often keep to myself, most days I'm home alone.
I'm even embarrassed for my partner to see and touch me because I hate myself so much.
Fast forward to 2004.
A stranger walked into my home through an unlocked door and sexually assaulted me in front of my child.
HE held me against the wall and did what HE did while my child watched.
I managed to push HIM off and tell my child to go to a neighbour for help but HE stopped her and sent her to her room to play.
HE sexually assaulted me then left his number on my coffee table and told me to call for a repeat anytime.
He then left.
My shirt and the material on my bra was torn.
I had a phone but my mind was all over the place and I didn't think to call the police.
I grabbed my child and while crying I went to my neighbour's house but she wasn't home, somehow I managed to get to the nearest shop.
I don't know why I went there, maybe I was looking for my friend.
The shop owner saw I was in distress, she called the police.
They came, took a description and went off to look for HIM.
Then suddenly my friend walked in.
She took me home and locked the door while we waited for the police again.
While the police were out looking for HIM, HE arrived back at my house.
The police caught him.
HE told them "men from his county of Nigeria like bigger women" and HE thought that gave HIM the right to do what HE did to me.
Over the following days I was interviewed, along with my child, my friend/neighbour and the shop owner.
It wasn't until later that my friend/neighbour said "he probably came back the second time to finish what he started" but he couldn't as he was caught.
A few months later, the case was due to go to court but the police found HE was in the country illegally so instead they escorted HIM back to his country.
HE was free but I wasnt.
I may have survived these situations in my past by living in the future but I wl never ever be free!
If you have been or are currently the victim of any form of abuse please seek professional help and advice.
Despite MRS XYZ's experience with the police, this isn't always the case.
There are some good people, charities, organisations available to help.