Nicola attended her local state primary school in the 1980s. She loved learning and she thought her teachers were fantastic. However, things started to change when Nicola turned eight.
Her peers often teased and bullied her, and she wasn’t sure why. A few students once pulled down her pants and commented on the stains on her underwear in front of others. There was nothing there. Nicola was often followed to the bathroom where the teasing continued.
Nicola was sexually abused by an older boy when she went to the bathroom. She doesn’t remember his name, but just remembers feeling very uncomfortable. After several weeks, Nicola went to the school’s counsellor and disclosed the abuse. She was devastated that this counsellor told everyone what happened.
‘She said it was confidential.’
At school, Nicola was isolated. All her friends stopped talking to her and the bullying intensified. One of the parents told her children that they weren’t allowed to go near Nicola. She had never felt so alone.
She went on to high school but life didn’t improve. From the age of 14, she was sexually abused by a relative for two years. She wanted to tell her mother and the school’s counsellor, but she was scared that something would happen and kept silent.
When she was 16, she dropped out of school and ran away with an older man. She didn’t tell anyone her plans. Nicola later married this man and they had children. She first told him of the sexual abuse when she was 25.
Her husband used her history of abuse against her, blackmailing her and forcing her to participate in criminal activities and she has now been in custody for several years.
Nicola has been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and is on medication for both. She said she feels like someone is always watching her. She also has a hard time trusting those around her, especially counsellors after her past experience with them and their breaches of confidentiality.