From the age of 3, Vanessa lived in daily terror of her mother's unpredictable rage. If she was 'naughty', her mother would lash out at her – with beatings, torture, starvation and making Vanessa sleep in their garden's pigsty, tied up like an animal. Her mother said her punishments were God's revenge on her for being the devil's child. Her father lived in denial of her suffering.
When she was 6 years old, Vanessa's grandfather began to sexually abuse her – to her despair, aided and abetted by both her mother and grandmother. At eight years old, she then discovered that the 'mother' who hated her so much had adopted her as a baby and would never love her as her own.
At the most horrific times of Vanessa's abuse, she nearly lost all hope that she would escape her prison, until mysterious things started to happen to her that allowed her to fight back.
This is the story of how Vanessa survived a childhood that nearly destroyed her and how her secret led her out of the horrors of her past.
Vanessa Steel was born and brought up on the outskirts of Birmingham in the 1950s. She survived her childhood ordeals and developed a psychic gift (as a young child she foresaw the assassination of Kennedy in 1963 oblivious to who he was), and started working professionally as a medium. She is now one of the most sought after psychic mediums in Britain with a long list of private clients including many celebrities, both in the UK and abroad.
By telling the whole story of her Edinburgh childhood, Donna tries to understand why the man who should have loved her the most - her own father - was the one who deceived her the most, by continuing to allow men to abuse her. Instead of finding a future of love and happiness, Donna was once again thrust into a living nightmare of
exploitation and betrayal by those who should have wrapped her up in their love.
While this is a true story of appalling child abuse, it is also a tale of how exhilaration, tenderness and self-development can flourish despite childhood horrors. We take a journey with Donna to discover the woman she has become: a devoted mother of three and a talented artist and writer.
The Cupboard Under the Stairs is a story of abuse at the mercy of adults whom Paul should have been able to trust. There followed a life almost destroyed by their actions. It is the harrowing story of one man’s fight for justice and an end to the horrific memories that still haunt him daily.
"I brought you into this world and I can take you out with one click of my fingers."
What if Baby P or Daniel Pelka had lived to tell their tale?
Collette Elliott once had a similar story. She slipped through the net and only just survived.
Her childhood was a place of filth and terror. Her prostitute mother abused and neglected Collette; leaving her with clients, starving her and beating her to a pulp.
But the worst thing was that the people who were supposed to protect Collette turned a blind eye.
This is the story of a little girl who waited years for justice. It's the story of a woman determined to protect other children from suffering her fate.
Collette Elliott is a 35-year-old mother of four. She was born in Birmingham to Maureen Batchelor, a prostitute, and suffered years of physical and mental abuse. In April 2013, Birmingham City Council awarded her £20,000 in damages for the anguish she suffered and their failure to protect her. Collette is now happily married, a devoted mother to her girls, and is campaigning on behalf of other child abuse victims.
At seven years old, Nabila Sharma began her lessons at the mosque as every good Muslim girl does. But from the minute she looked up at her Imam, the man who held her spiritual future in his hands, she knew something was wrong.
Over the next five years Nabila’s life became unbearable. While she was behind the doors of the mosque, the most sacred of places, the Imam brutally molested her on the slightest whim. Each day he would make her perform unspeakable acts, physically and mentally torturing her into compliance, to fulfil his perverse desires.
Nothing would stop him; no plea would make him relent. But he was a respected member of the community, trusted by everyone; if Nabila cried for help she would risk the honour of her family, an unthinkable act. There was nowhere she could turn, no one she could talk to. As a young Muslim girl, Nabila was powerless.
Brutal is the shocking, revelatory and heart-rending account of one girl’s plight in a society where honour and shame are a matter of life and death. It is a tale of innocence lost and a life shattered, but above all it is a tale of survival, of a young girl who found love and hope in the darkest of places.