Emily’s story

15 Nov 2021

After facing nine years of emotional and physical abuse, 19 year-old *Emily is defying the odds to recover from her trauma.

With the help of The Wallich, Emily now feels safe in her supported accommodation and is paving the way for her future.

Read her story

A difficult childhood

“I got taken off my mum at the age of eight.

Basically, I had eczema and I thought it was a burn. I told the school that my mum burnt me.

There was no food there [at home], my hair was literally matted and the house stunk of pee.

I did myself a favour in a way, because I moved in with my dad.

Then it just went downhill.

My dad, he emotionally abused me. Not sexual or anything, but emotionally and physically.

I had the abuse from age 8 to age 17.

If I didn’t massage my dad’s back, he’d just hit me for that.

I was like ‘Why should I have to do it, I’m not your slave, I’m your child’.

It was hard for me. My dad would take it out on me.

I would take it out on my ex-boyfriend; but I couldn’t help it. There was no way for me to vent it out.

I think because he [Emily’s dad] was abused as a kid, he just thought it was right to abuse me.

I left my dad’s when I was 17.

It’s messed my head up, I’m not going to lie.

From my dad’s perspective, I just don’t know how someone can do that to their child. It just changed me a lot.

It’s hard cause it sticks in my head. Some days I have good days, some days I have bad days.

A year ago, last October, I took an overdose.

I remember the ambulance and everything, but I was just gone. It was Mirtazapine, my medication for depression.

I took an overdose because I thought I just don’t want to be here.

To be honest, I could just chuck my life away. I’m not depressed, but my body just aches, and I just feel like I can’t do it.

Family life

“I’ve got a brother and two sisters.

I talk to my mum, but I’m not as close as she is with my other brother and sisters.

My mum lost my brother’s twin when she was pregnant. I just feel like my brother’s twin was worth being here.

My mum treats me different to my other sister.

I talk to my grandparents, which was his [dad’s] parents and they helped me a lot. They were going to take me in.

I tell my grandma everything and she respects me. She won’t even tell my dad. That’s what I respect about her.

I just love my grandparents.

They knew what happened. She obviously didn’t like it but there is nothing she could really do. She wasn’t there with me.

She wouldn’t like it obviously, but to be honest, she wouldn’t really like to ring the police on her son.”

Support from The Wallich

“I moved six times during the pandemic.

I’ve been here [at The Wallich young people’s project] a year now.

The staff help me a lot. When I moved from my dad’s, I didn’t have anything.

I didn’t have clothes, shoes, I didn’t have a birth certificate or anything to identify who I was.

So, The Wallich helped me get a birth certificate. They helped me get clothes. They helped me apply for a bank account as I didn’t have one.

The Wallich helped me to be more independent.

And my mental health as well. I had counselling with the Iechyd da: Youth Health Team.

I like it here. I do talk to residents. It can sometimes be chaotic, but other days it’s just chilled, it’s relaxed.

It’s like home. It does feel like home.

The Wallich have helped me a lot. Even if I’m in a mood or something, they still help me.”

[Talking about how to cope day-to-day]

“I go out. I’m not the person to stay in.

I just keep myself busy. I go for walks, I meet my friends, I go to the shops, I watch tv, listen to music.

We do cooking classes. We go on trips. Just loads of stuff.

In October, we’ve got an activity with The Wallich to go pumpkin picking and carving, so I’m going to enjoy that.

It’s something to look forward to isn’t it.”

Striving for a positive future

“I’ve got a job now; I work in a bar in Swansea.

I’ve put my hours up in work as I don’t want to have to show I’m on benefits. I want to be that person to show I can do it.

I want to be someone who works with DNA, or police and crime scenes. I just like stuff like that. I don’t know what it is, but my goal has always been set on that.

I might be a PCSO or something first, and then go into further education.

I wasn’t that brilliant at school. I’ve done my GCSEs, but in school I didn’t really focus.

It just wasn’t for me. I did English in college, but I just left college. I’m not classroom-based.

I want to get my own house.

To be honest, I’m not fussed if it’s a council house or not, because at the end of the day, everyone has to live.

I want to be that person to make everyone proud. I think he [grandad] is proud. But I do get days where I feel like I can’t do it. But I haven’t given up.

I am proud of myself but it’s just a continuous fight in your brain, isn’t it.

If it wasn’t for The Wallich, I wouldn’t know what to do.

All the staff are all nice and do all help you.

I think I have grown since I’ve come here.

I really enjoy it here. I’ve made loads of friends being here. I find it really safe here. The staff make sure we are in a safe environment.”

Olivia, Senior Support Worker at The Wallich, said:

“Throughout her time here, Emily has grown in confidence and is now at the stage of bidding for her own property.

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Emily has always been keen to get involved in activities, be that making topped waffles, tie-dying her wardrobe and even spray painting a graffiti mural.

Emily has benefited greatly from living here with friendships, memories and skills that will equip her on her journey to independent living.”

Find out more about how The Wallich supports young people experiencing homelessness.

*Emily is a pseudonym to protect the client’s identity 

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