*Name has been changed 

I was taken away from both my parents when I was younger. They were both abusive but in different ways.

I lived with my father for the majority of my youth but really struggled because he was physically, mentally and emotionally abusive. I was told he did at times rape my siblings and me and once he tried to set us on fire.

When I was about 11 years old, my grandparents took us in. Things were okay for a while but when my grandad died my grandmother struggled and started to hit us. When I turned 16, I made the decision to leave her house. I felt sad and couldn’t take the abuse anymore. I had nowhere to go and it was New Year’s Eve, so everything was closed.

I was placed in emergency accommodation until everything re-opened. When services were back to normal, Llamau took me to live with a lovely lady called Lynne who had a spare room in her house for me.

My room was really nice and I felt at home living with Lynne. She taught me how to cook and wash my clothes and how to manage my diet and lifestyle better. The important things you need to know about living independently. Lynne also helped me come to terms with what had happened to me. She was always there if I needed a chat and could always tell if I was having a bad time. She always knew what to say. 

I lived with Lynne for about two years until I was ready to move into my own home. My time with her really helped get me ready for living alone, so I’ll always be so grateful to Lynne and Llamau for the all they did for me during such a hard time in my life.

I have tried to reconnect with my dad but he cannot come to terms with my sexuality and often tells me I should have been born a female. It’s too hard to be around him but I’m lucky to have a strong group of friends around me and I still have contact with my brothers and sisters.

Although most of the time I’m not affected by what’s happened to me, some days can be harder than others. I can’t say I’m thankful for my experiences but I feel like they’ve taught me how to identify people who could become abusive towards me in the future, like partners and friends etc. I’m now studying in college and really happy with how things are going for me in life.