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...
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.
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.