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  /  Madeleine Heather

Madeleine Heather

When I was 14 years old I was starting to go through a bit of a rebel phase. 

My friends and I had a discussion in the weeks before where we were going to a friend’s Dad’s place (her parents were separated and he had a new partner) and she had told us he was ‘cool’. 

By cool that meant he would buy us alcohol and allow us to drink this weekend. It was my first experience drinking so quantities and options for choices were very new. Throughout the evening he became more and more controlling, not allowing us to leave the house and only allowing us to drink in the living room with him. 

He plied us with more and more, and it seemed he was very focused on giving me the most attention and most drinks. The next thing i remember i was in and out of consciousness as he sexually abused me on the floor of the living room, in the dark, with the rough carpet scratching and burning my back and elbows. 

He had allowed my friends to leave when I had lost consciousness and that’s when he decided he would take his opportunity to abuse me. I remember this happening for a long time, as I was in and out. 

Eventually, after knowing the abuse was happening and doing nothing about it – his partner at the time called the police who arrived and took me and him away to the police station where he was charged with my assault. 

Over the next few years it was a battle. In the court, he was eventually sentenced for ‘penetration of a minor’ and spent 2 years in prison. 

Subsequently, I was basically shunned in the community as a ‘slut’ and seen as bad news to other families. The abuse and ridicule I endured as a result of my abuse was as traumatic as the abuse itself.

Now, I have worked through my trauma, and while that doesn’t mean I am healed. It does mean I am moving forward and able to use my voice to advocate for other survivors. Removing the stigma and shame from abuse is my absolute goal and why I started the Reclaim me podcast – to provide a platform and remove the stigma we so often associate with abuse.

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Donald Cribbs

Michelle Robinson

Gurjot Kaur

Lauren

Jack Poulton

Patrick Lewis

Katie Haden

Daniel Kirk Eichelberger

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