I was born in Liverpool in 1964. A time when violence in the home against children was something that wasn't spoken about. Everyone knew it was happening but did nothing.
Within our family it was such shameful and embarrassing secret that no-one wanted it exposed or even discussed. So, it was hushed up.
The result was that it carried on and no one tried to stop it. Neighbours, friends, doctors, teachers, the authorities and the whole community looked the other way.
Only once during my time at school did a P.E. teacher question why I was covered in cuts and bruises. She accepted my feeble excuse immediately and never asked again.
Likewise, a hospital doctor asked my parents how my injuries had occurred. With no reasonable explanation, but seeing in front of him what looked like a respectable family, he shrugged and suggested they were self inflicted.
And that was that.
Once I realised that no-one would listen or believe me, I stopped trying to tell and got on with the job of surviving.
I experienced first hand violence and cruelty from my mother – an angry and miserable woman who was not able to control her emotions or her fists. The harm done by those events stays with you forever.
The physical scars, wounds and shocking pain are bad enough at the time, but there are other psychological aspects of violence which have a more lasting impact.
As a child experiencing these events, I couldn’t help feeling responsible for them. It is deeply confusing. And that confusion stayed with me into adult life.
I was given a very bad lesson in responsibility and self control and I have had issues in relationships as an adult that can be traced back to the experiences I had as a child in my own home. A place where I should have felt safe.
A failed first marriage, a series of destructive relationships and two suicide attempts indicated that something was very wrong. But, instead of asking for help, I just self-medicated with alcohol and drugs and carried on as best I could.
It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I was made to realise that if I didn’t take drastic action, my self destructive behaviour would mean I probably wouldn’t see my thirtieth birthday.