Don’t Tell Mummy: A True Story of the Ultimate Betrayal

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This heart-wrenching memoir from Toni Maguire tells the deeply moving story of an idyllic childhood that masked a terrible truth. Underneath her mother's gentility and her father's roguish charm lay horrifying secrets, which eventually led to their only child's near destruction.

The first time her father made an improper advance on Toni, she was six years old. Her father warned her not to tell her mother, or anyone else, because they would blame her and wouldn't love her any more. It had to remain ‘our secret.’

When she finally built up the courage to tell her mother what had happened, she was told never to speak of the matter again. With no one to turn to, isolated and alone in rural Ireland, the abuse continued unhindered.

At fourteen Toni fell pregnant by her father, and when her state was discovered she was made to have a late abortion which almost killed her. The truth of her childhood could no longer be kept hidden but, just as her father predicted, Toni found herself judged and rejected by her family, teachers and friends. The blame and anger she was treated with only worsened when her father was sent to prison as a result of his actions. This is the compelling story of her struggle to put the ghost of her childhood to rest, and emerge ultimately triumphant.

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More by Toni Maguire

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SHE FINALLY THOUGHT SHE WAS SAFE...

Toni Maguire, author of Don't Tell Mummy, takes up the story of her tragic childhood where she left off, revealing the awful truth about what happened when her father, sent to jail for abusing her, was released, and came home...

Toni Maguire's father abused her from the age of six, and was only found out when Toni fell pregnant, losing the child from a botched abortion. Called to her father's trial. she gave the damning evidence that put him away, and hoped that with his influence banished, she and her mother could have a happy, idyllic life once more. But her mother was unable to face the truth of what her husband had perpetrated on their daughter, and waited patiently for his return.

One day, two years later, Toni walked in to find her dreaded father sitting in the living room, on day release from prison. Toni knew then she had to leave, but stayed with her mother for another two years, desperately hoping her mother would choose Toni's wellbeing over that of her father. Yet when Joe Maguire was released, Toni was despatched to collect him from the station, and from the moment he re-entered the house she knew nothing had changed in his desires, although the threat of imprisonment was enough to prevent him from acting on them. Toni was forced to leave her home, and her mother made it known she was no longer welcome.

Traumatised and alone, Toni was unable to cope, and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, sinking deeper into despair every day, finally being transferred to the dead-end ward with hope of recovery abandoned. But paradoxically it was when all hope seemed gone that Toni slowly began to improve, by sheer force of indomitable will – but the ultimate step occurred when she finally admitted to herself that her mother, whom she wanted so desperately to love her, had known all along what her father had done.

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Additional Information

Publisher
HarperCollins UK
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Published on
Sep 4, 2008
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780007279838
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Family & Relationships / Abuse / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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SHE FINALLY THOUGHT SHE WAS SAFE...

Toni Maguire, author of Don't Tell Mummy, takes up the story of her tragic childhood where she left off, revealing the awful truth about what happened when her father, sent to jail for abusing her, was released, and came home...

Toni Maguire's father abused her from the age of six, and was only found out when Toni fell pregnant, losing the child from a botched abortion. Called to her father's trial. she gave the damning evidence that put him away, and hoped that with his influence banished, she and her mother could have a happy, idyllic life once more. But her mother was unable to face the truth of what her husband had perpetrated on their daughter, and waited patiently for his return.

One day, two years later, Toni walked in to find her dreaded father sitting in the living room, on day release from prison. Toni knew then she had to leave, but stayed with her mother for another two years, desperately hoping her mother would choose Toni's wellbeing over that of her father. Yet when Joe Maguire was released, Toni was despatched to collect him from the station, and from the moment he re-entered the house she knew nothing had changed in his desires, although the threat of imprisonment was enough to prevent him from acting on them. Toni was forced to leave her home, and her mother made it known she was no longer welcome.

Traumatised and alone, Toni was unable to cope, and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, sinking deeper into despair every day, finally being transferred to the dead-end ward with hope of recovery abandoned. But paradoxically it was when all hope seemed gone that Toni slowly began to improve, by sheer force of indomitable will – but the ultimate step occurred when she finally admitted to herself that her mother, whom she wanted so desperately to love her, had known all along what her father had done.

Joe knew his mother was cruel and violent, but he trusted his beloved father to protect him from her. When a freak accident saw his father burn to death in front of him, Joe was left at the mercy of his mother. Without the love of his friend and brother, he wouldn't have survived. With them, he went on to spend his life fighting child abuse.

Joe was just five years old and the horrific scene literally struck him dumb. He didn't speak for four and a half years, which meant he was unable to ask anyone for help as his life turned into a living hell.

His schizophrenic mother and two of his older brothers spent the following years beating him, raping him and locking him in the cellar at the family home. Fed on scraps that he was forced to lick from the floor, he was sometimes left naked in the dark for three days without human contact.

Unable to read or write, all Joe could do to communicate his suffering was draw pictures.

The violence and sexual abuse grew in severity as more people, including his stepfather, were invited to use him in any way they chose.

The only thing that saved Joe was the kindness of his elder brother and his only school friend, both of whom showed him that love was possible even in the darkest of situations.

At fourteen he finally found the courage to run away, hiding in a hut by a railway line, fed on scraps by some local children who found him.

Joe's is the ultimate insider's story, casting light into the darkest of hidden worlds, and a truly inspirational account of how one small boy found the strength to overcome almost impossible odds and become a remarkable man. Now that he has found his voice again, Joe speaks out against child abuse and helps support and protect other children whose lives have been blighted by it.

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