Damaged: The Heartbreaking True Story of a Forgotten Child

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The Sunday Times and New York Times Bestseller. Although Jodie is only eight years old, she is violent, aggressive, and has already been through numerous foster families. Her last hope is Cathy Glass...

Cathy, an experienced foster carer, is pressured into taking Jodie as a new placement. Jodie's challenging behaviour has seen off five carers in four months but Cathy decides to take her on to protect her from being placed in an institution.

Jodie arrives, and her first act is to soil herself, and then wipe it on her face, grinning wickedly. Jodie meets Cathy's teenage children, and greets them with a sharp kick to the shins. That night, Cathy finds Jodie covered in blood, having cut her own wrist, and smeared the blood over her face.

As Jodie begins to trust Cathy her behaviour improves. Over time, with childish honesty, she reveals details of her abuse at the hands of her parents and others. It becomes clear that Jodie's parents were involved in a sickening paedophile ring, with neighbours and Social Services not seeing what should have been obvious signs.

It’s clear that Josie needs psychiatric therapy, but instead Social Services take Jodie away from her, and place her in a residential unit. Although the paedophile ring is investigated and brought to justice, Jodie’s future is still up in the air. Cathy promises that she will stand by her no matter what – her love for the abandoned Jodie is unbreakable.

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Additional Information

Publisher
HarperCollins UK
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Published on
Jan 19, 2009
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780007279753
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Family & Relationships / Abuse / General
Family & Relationships / Adoption & Fostering
Political Science / Public Policy / Social Services & Welfare
Self-Help / Abuse
Social Science / Sexual Abuse & Harassment
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This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Four-year-old Lisa's world turned upside down when her step-father moved in. Most of the time he was just violent but then he started making her do things to him she knew were wrong. Soon he was visiting her at night. Lisa begged her mother for help but she just shrugged, telling Lisa he would have his way. It was the greatest betrayal of all.

At first Lisa's step-father would just make her stroke and massage his feet, hitting her if she stopped, but he soon wanted more. Much more. By the time she was 12 he was regularly abusing her. One day, when Lisa turned 16, she came home to discover that her mother had swapped bedrooms with her. 'You're my girlfriend now', her step-father told her. Lisa turned to her mother for help, but was met with a shrug. She wouldn't hear a word against her husband. 'Don't blame me,' she said. Her step-father's abuse was horrific but what completely tore her apart was knowing her mother knew and encouraged it.

Trapped and increasingly desperate, Lisa tried to find a way out. But her isolation was complete. A few months later her mother told her she'd arranged for Lisa and her step-father to move into a flat together down the road. It was too much for Lisa to bear. 'Please don't make me, please,' she sobbed. But her mother just ignored her. Lisa was marched around to the flat with her possessions and her nightmare was complete.

Alone with her step-father, Lisa's life became even more unbearable. Then one day, finally, she got the chance she'd been looking for to escape. Lisa bravely struck out on her own, petrified her mother would find her and hand her back into the waiting arms of her step-father. But Lisa's mother had no idea how determined she was to break away...

Neglected by her careless parents, Marianne turned to her neighbour, the one person that she thought she could trust....

Eight year old Marianne, the eldest of five children, was neglected by her slovenly mother and her violent alcoholic father. Uncared for and unkempt she was rejected at school by her peers and scarcely tolerated by her teachers. Only one person gave her the affection she craved; a neighbour who seeing the vulnerable child knew she was easy prey for his perverted desires.

‘Little Lady’ he called her over the few months he groomed her. Less than twelve months later she was caught in a trap of fear - if she talked she would be punished. With no one to turn to she kept ‘their secret’. At thirteen she fell pregnant.

Still too frightened to speak out she refused to tell the social workers who the father was. Without family support the teenager gave birth to a daughter in the unmarried mother's home.

Six weeks later the baby she had already grown to love was taken away for adoption. Marianne returned home, but the neighbour's abuse continued and a year later she was pregnant again.

This time her father literally tried to beat the baby out of her but she failed to miscarry. Scared for her life and that of her baby's she ran away from home carrying only a plastic bag stuffed with her few possessions.

Marianne who still missed her first child desperately struggled to keep her second daughter. Two months after the birth she realized that for the baby's sake she would have to hand her over for adoption.

Helpless is Marianne’s heartbreaking story as told the bestselling author of Don’t Tell Mummy.

The bestselling, devastating account of three sisters torn apart, abused and exploited at the hands of a community that robbed them of their childhood. It reveals three lives, separate but entwined, that have experienced unspeakable horror, unrelenting loyalty and unforgettable courage.

From as early as three years old, Juliana, Celeste and Kristina were treated as sexual beings by their 'guardians' in the infamous religious cult known as the Children of God. They were made to watch and mimic orgies, received love letters and sexual advances from men old enough to be their grandfather, and were forced into abusive relationships. They were denied access to formal schooling, had to wander the streets begging for money, and were mercilessly beaten for 'crimes' as unpredictable as reading an encyclopaedia.

Finally, unable to live with the guilt of what had happened to her children, their mother escaped with Kristina, cutting herself off from her remaining children in a bid to save at least one child. Desperate to save her sisters, Kristina eventually returned to the place of her torture to free Celeste. Years later, Juliana found the courage to escape, knowing that the child she was carrying would be subjected to the same fate if she did not.

Now the three sisters have finally come together to reveal in full and horrific detail their existence within the Children of God cult. Their stories reveal a community spread throughout the world and its legacy of anorexia, depression, drug abuse, suicide and even murder. Lives are ripped apart and painstakingly mended with a shared strength that finally enabled the sisters to free themselves from the shadows of their past.

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