“Some of my earliest memories are of my mother beating me and also humiliating me in front of other people. I was more like a slave than her child.
“When I was 11 she remarried and my stepfather joined in the abuse and bullying. Twin boys came along but, unlike me, they were adored and treated as special. I continued to be treated as the family servant, preparing meals while being deprived of food for myself.
“I wanted to do well at school because I dreamed of being a vet but my mother barred me from attending revision classes for my exams. I turned to my aunt who agreed to take me in. But after a while because money was tight she felt unable to cope.
“I tried staying with friends and bus-hopping overnight but the instability meant I couldn’t keep up with my school work and pass my exams.”
Laura was introduced to Coram Housing and Youth Support by her local authority. Now she lives in a Coram house with 24-hour support. Despite failing her exams she has been helped on to a course with practical qualifications and is looking for work at a veterinary clinic.
Being starved as a child has affected her relationship with food. She has had bulimia and even now often feels it is not worthwhile preparing meals for herself. But Coram has helped her to seek counselling and she continues to overcome the challenges set by her past. Now she feels much more positive and hopeful about her future.
Case studies are real but names are changed and models used to protect confidentiality
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