Gloria Eveleigh, who is the chairman of Lancing Parish Council and was a social worker who worked with vulnerable people before she retired, said her book, One Small Word – Surviving Childhood Abuse, was already having an impact.
Victims of childhood abuse receive lifetime anonymity under the law. Mrs Eveleigh has chosen to waive that anonymity to speak to the Herald about her experiences.
The 71-year-old said she was ‘honoured’ to have been invited to submit the novel to the The Truth Project, part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
She said: “That’s the best thing I could have hoped for. I wrote the book because I wanted to help others. Already it is having a huge impact, which is more than I could have hoped for.”
Mrs Eveleigh, who has written several children’s books in the past, said it took ‘quite a lot of courage’ to write and publish the novel, which is told from the point of view of a protagonist named Frankie.
“It was very difficult at the time because you actually relive it, you really dig down and one memory gives rise to another memory, so that was painful,” she said.
“But it was very cathartic in the long term. Afterwards, I felt that I was kind-of free.”
Mrs Eveleigh said that when she was young there was ‘no support’, adding: “There was and still is a great stigma to talking about child abuse.”
Reading a book like this would have helped her when she was growing up and her self-esteem was ‘just about zilch’, she said, as it would have helped her understand that some of her behaviour was directly caused by her experiences.
“I think it would have stopped me feeling guilty,” she said.
“I wanted to give a glimmer of light to the people that are part of the way through that journey.”
The novel, which is published by Urlink Print & Media and is available to purchase on Amazon.co.uk, was officially launched at an event at Lancing Parish Hall on Saturday, February 2.
Some 60 people attended the event, which Mrs Eveleigh said was an ‘amazing’ night. “It was perfect,” she said.
To purchase a copy of the book, search One Small Word on Amazon.co.uk
Anyone affected by issues raised in this article can contact SupportLine for confidential support by calling 01708 765200.