Skip to main content

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



Vayla says of her childhood, ‘I can’t remember one normal day’

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Vayla was subjected to years of sexual abuse and rape by her sadistic father and is still haunted by her horrific childhood experiences.

The family home was raided twice by the police but they did not talk to the children. 

Vayla can’t remember exactly how old she was when her father first sexually abused her, but she knows from the house the family were living in at the time that it was definitely occurring when she was eight years old. 

He abused and threatened all his children, and told Vayla he would kill her if she ever spoke about the abuse. She remembers that her mother never showed the children any love or stood up for them. ‘I find that hard ... if I thought something was happening to my child, I’d do something about it’ she says.

Vayla’s mother often worked night shifts, and this gave her father plenty of opportunities to abuse her. She remembers being in terrible pain as he assaulted her with objects and then raped her, once anally. After their father abused Vayla and her sisters, he would shout at them to do housework.

She and her sisters did not talk to each other about the abuse, and Vayla says she did not fight back. As she got older, he told her ‘You can always say no’, but says that the one time she did, he stopped allowing her food and money for the bus. 

She remembers crying a lot in school. She was often absent because she was in so much pain, and sometimes had urinary infections. 

Vayla describes how her father seemed to get sadistic pleasure from abusing her and would want her to struggle. He took a lot of photographs and video film, and she is distressed and sickened at the thought this material might still be in circulation.

The police raided the family home on two occasions and Vayla thinks this may have been related to child sexual abuse images. As well as all the photographs he took, she remembers her father had ‘horrible, rude magazines’. 

However, the police never spoke to the children and the abuse continued. Vayla says ‘I couldn’t say anything, but I wanted them to rescue me. I wish I’d had a voice’.

One of Vayla’s sisters eventually told their mother what their father was doing. Their mother asked the sister if she had ‘enjoyed it’. Later, Vayla’s parents got divorced and her mother had a breakdown. 

Vayla got married but her husband divorced her when he found out about the abuse. She was shunned by his family and the community. ‘They had no concern for me, but looked at me as if I was dirty.’ 

Vayla’s father was convicted and received a long prison sentence for raping Vayla’s sister and other children. But again, no one asked the other children if they had anything to report.

Decades later, Vayla still suffers severe effects caused by her early experiences. She says ‘I don’t want to say what happened in my childhood is affecting me now, but I know it is’. 

She feels lonely and depressed and suffers with shame and self-loathing. She says she doesn’t want to be alone and would like a partner, but finds intimacy extremely difficult. She has no family support because her siblings also struggle with their past.

Vayla has not had counselling. She says ‘I don’t really believe anything can help’. She feels she has been let down by everyone she should have been able to trust. She says of her father, ‘He made me what I am today – I was always terrified and I still am’.

She tried to study in further education but could not cope with college and says she is too scared to make any plans for her future.

Vayla believes that professionals need more education about cultural differences. She says that Asian people are expected to be totally loyal to family even if that means not reporting abuse. She feels that police should talk to children when they visit people’s homes and check they are okay. 

She says that sharing her experience with the Truth Project is the first time she has talked in detail about her childhood experiences.

Back to top