BETWEEN 1983 and 1989, a young girl in Worcestershire suffered sexual abuse from the age of four to nine.
On Thursday (March 17) her abuser, 52-year-old Andrew Bleasdale from Aylesbury, was sentenced to eight years in prison with a further year suspended.
Here, the survivor of his abuse shares her experience of bringing him to justice.
“After having been through one of the worst experiences of my life I am able to find some inner peace. I feel lighter than I have done in years and I am genuinely enjoying life more than I have ever done.
Facing my own fears and anxieties of going through a trial, facing my abuser and exposing him in public has allowed me to shed years of shame and self-loathing. I am now starting to live the life I was always meant to have.
I would like to pay special thanks to my investigating officer who has worked so hard to bring my abuser to justice; the barrister who was relentless in presenting the truth of my situation; and the judge for giving a custodial sentence that will provide hope to other survivors facing their own traumas.
I want anyone who has been subject to abuse, whether recently or in the past, to believe in the justice system and to come forward – you will be believed and kind, caring people are there to support you too.
The support I have received from initial contact and throughout the trial has given me the confidence to deal with the horrors of my past and step into a bright future.
I would also like to give special thanks to the team at Witness Care. They helped me retain my dignity in such an awful situation and supported me throughout the trial. And finally I would like to personally thank my Independent Sexual Violence Advisor whose help, advice and presence allowed me see this through to the end.
My abuser stole my childhood innocence. I have been scarred for life but I am not defeated. He must now acknowledge the damage he has wreaked which is his turn to carry.
A burden has been lifted and I can now hold my head up high.”
Anyone who has been subjected to sexual abuse whether recently or in the past can get free and confidential advice from specialist staff by visiting www.wmrsasc.org.uk or calling 03456 461188.