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IICSA published its final Report in October 2022. This website was last updated in January 2023.



Malia believes that institutional racism was one reason why the abuse she endured was not spotted

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Malia was sexually abused by her father and another adult, who made her pregnant.

She says that signs of abuse were ignored by authorities because of attitudes towards black people. Malia says that at school, racism was rife and no one took any interest in her. ‘You was black, no one gave a shit’. 

Malia is of African-Caribbean heritage. She grew up in the UK during the 1960s and 70s. 

Her father was a violent man who abused her sexually and physically for as far back as she can remember. 

She did not have any speech until she was about five years old. Her family branded her as ‘mad’ and she says that at times she thought this might be true, because she was constantly in such an anxious state.

Malia was neglected by her mother, who was aware the children were being physically abused by their father. 

She adds that her father would ‘batter’ her and say ‘you’ll have it’ if she told anyone he was sexually abusing her.  

As a child, Malia used to stay out of her home to escape the abuse as much as she could. She often went on her own to church, where she would pray that someone would come and rescue her. She says ‘I used to feel that someone would come and get me out of all of that shit. But no-one would come. That’s why I would just leave home and do my own stuff … I used to sleep anywhere just to get away from that house’. 

As well as sexually abusing her, Malia’s father also tried to persuade her to bring friends around so that he could abuse them too. One day, when she was in her mid teens, her father was about to sexually abuse her and she fought back. She remembers how she felt she wanted to kill him because of the anger she had inside her. 

While still in her early teens, she became pregnant by a man who was in his early 20s. She hid her pregnancy until the eighth month. None of the medical staff involved asked any questions about how she had got pregnant at this age. 

After her father died, Malia discovered that he had also sexually abused one of her sisters. She says that talking with her about their experiences made her feel ‘light as a feather’. She felt that for her, her father’s death was more of a celebration than a sad event.

Malia still suffers from anxiety and she has flashbacks of the abuse she suffered in her childhood. She has been drawn to abusive relationships and finds sex difficult and distressing. She has been homeless, and has attempted suicide. 

She has children and has worried about her parenting. She never allowed her father near her children, but she feels she can be too protective and vigilant. She has now told her adult children that she was abused by her father but has not gone into detail.

Malia would like to see guidance given to new mothers about safeguarding children and identifying signs of abuse; she suggests this could be included as part of baby packs. She also thinks churches and other institutions should be more alert to signs of child abuse.

As Malia was recovering from her suicide attempt, she says she realised that she is an important person in the lives of many people. She says ‘I rescued myself, that’s who rescued me’. 

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