Lydiais now 47 and happily married with six children of her own but suffered silently from parental abuse as a young child.
Her childhood started out happily as Lydia lived with a caring foster family in Sussex, Hastings.
In the 60s this was an affordable option for young married Nigerian students. Sending infants into foster care for weeks, months and occasionally years was intended to help struggling students focus on their jobs and studies.
But at the age of five, Lydia’s secure lifestyle changed dramatically when she was taken back to London to live with her Nigerian biological parents.
“This is where my nightmare began.” Says Lydia, “I was the victim of unending abuse. Neither parent showed any form of love and affection to me. Instead, I was beaten almost daily – I was literally beaten with wire and often left to cope alone with my younger sister and brother. Even the courts and social services were well and truly deceived.”
Lydia’s story is a true account of what she experienced in her first 12 years of life. Unable to confide in anyone at school for fear of repercussions, Lydia learnt to lie to cover up for her parents, even in the face of severe injury and hospitalization.
“Writing the book was very challenging for me. It made me revisit my past, which has been an emotional and therapeutic experience.
“It took me 12 years to write this book, partly because it took that long to come to the point to forgive my parents. I did not realize that it was something I needed to do. I thought the pain, hurt and bitterness would go away automatically as I grew older. But sadly they didn’t.
“As a form of counselling it was suggested I write down my experiences – I could see this was giving me a form of relief. It was so difficult as the more I wrote the more tearful I became. Writing the book was a great challenge in itself. The more tears I shed the heavier my hand was to write, by the time I got to the end there were no more tears and the pen flowed easier on the paper.
“While I was writing my book I heard about the death of Victoria Climbie. It saddened me to think that even in the 21st-century child abuse is still on the increase, and still goes unnoticed. This motivated me to make my book available globally for the world to know that child abuse is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with.”
“I often wonder how and why I survived my childhood when there was many an incident when I felt death was inevitable. My Christian faithhas helped me through many a dark moment. I see myself as a beacon of hope to those like me who were too afraid to speak the truth about their parents’ cruelty.”
Lydia is now a qualified healthcare scientist and works as a pathology manager at an innovative diagnostic testing center in the London Borough of Bexley. She also undertakes speaking engagements for charities’ and works closely with AFRUCA, speaking out against child abuse. Lydia also spends time working with the Victoria Climbie Foundation.
It’s not always easy to know if you or someone you know is being abused. But child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm.
It commonly occurs within a relationship of trust or responsibility. Abuse can happen to a child regardless of their age, gender, race or ability. Abusers can be male or female adults and other young people, and the alarming thing of all is that they are usually known to and trusted by the child and family.
For help with child abuse issues, you can call Child Line anytime on 0800 1111