About Cassandra

My name is Cassandra Pullman and I am a survivor of childhood abuse and rape. This is my story of abuse at the hands of my parents. I was forced to suffer a variety of severe abuse as a child. I was sexually, physically and mentally abused and neglect by my parents. I am also a proud care leaver from England but I now currently live in Scotland. I am 22 years old and I was a college student, hoping to go into Psychology and Social Work. I am also a part of the LGBTQ as I am lesbian and extremely proud of it. I really want to do talks to speak out and help others who have been abused in any way. I enjoy helping others out with problems such as mental health and abuse. My Twitter is @cassiepullman and Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/cassiepullman, if anyone ever needs someone to talk to about anything, please feel free to do so.

My Story

Aged 1 to 5 years, my father would rape me with objects and from 6 till 12 he would rape me with his genitals. He only stopped raping me at twelve because that’s when I had my first period. My mother would violently beat me up, using herself and objects such as steel toe cap shoes, leather belts and slippers and anything of weight that would hurt me. 

I had no one growing up. I had learned to fend for myself at an early age. I had realized that my so called parents either hated me that much that they point blank refused to look after me in any way possible or that I was just one very unloved and uncared for child, all I had every wanted was to be loved and to be happy but happiness in my life was very hard to come by. I felt so hopeless. Hopeless at the fact that I may never have a happy life and that I may never be able to be a child. 

Being happy was the one thing I had wanted the most out of my miserable life. I wanted to know what it was like and how being happy felt. I wanted to be like other children. I could never play at home. I was not allowed to laugh or show excitement. My home was never a place of safety. My life was made of acting and pretending that everything was alright. I had to fool and play on others into making and believing that I was a happy and loved child when I had no clue as to what any of those feelings meant. I had to copy and mimics other children so that the adults would be clueless to the hell that was happening a home. 

Every time I was around my parents, my skin would crawl so hard and fast it was like it was desperately trying to get away from my. My skin was my barrier and my protector but it could only protect my little life for so long. Skin was not meant to handle such severe pain day in – day out and soon enough it would collapse like every ounce of good in my life. I was held capacitive by my parents. I was a prisoner in my own room. I would either barricade myself in to protect myself from danger and torture and mostly from more other such hell. My parents would lock me in from the outside of the heavily made door. I knew when they did it, every time they would lock the door, all I could hear was the clashing off chains being pulled along the steel metal bar, and the tens of thousands of bolts being smashed and crammed into each other ensuring that no matter what I would try and do I would never get out and escape from the room. I knew that when I was inside of the room I was safe and protected from the evil that was outside the door of doom and misery. I knew I could cry silent tears and show some sort of emotions from my emotionless life inside the house. It was hell knowing that being treated in such as horrible manner made me appreciate and understand the somewhat safety of my room. I knew my parents were the pure evil of evils and that they were vindictive. They were beastly and destructive people. They were vile and vicious and unfortunately I was the only one who could see their dark side, I was the only one who was allowed in to see the damage and poisonous life that they lived. 

My father’s name is Albert. He would rape me every chance he was given. Albert never felt shame or guilt. Albert only felt pleasure and enjoyment. He would clean up after himself, hiding and destroying all evidence of what happened to me, he would always carry a lump of tissue in his back pocket for occasions such as this. He was always prepared for his fun time. He was always prepared to hurt me in every way that was possible. He would take advantage of me with no second thought. Maybe he thought that I might not remember if I was knocked out every night with no drugs just his fist. I wanted to be loved by him. He was my daddy. He was supposed to be my protector but instead he was my everyday abuser, my everyday rapist and my everyday belittler. If there was something I could do to make him stop, I would do it in an instant. He would do unthinkable things to me, he would hurt me in ways that no one had ever seemed to realize.

On my last day of nursery, I fell asleep at the bottom of an oak tree and took off my socks and shoes, and my red jacket. My teacher saw me and came over and saw something very disturbing, something that she has not seen before. She had no choice in the matter she had to wake me up. She got down on her knees to my level and spoke gently to me asking me loads of questions. First with the usual questions asking about my parents, what they did and life at home. 

The teacher said “I know what is going on at home”, my teacher then went and asked me why my arms and legs were a deep painful purple with a tinge of navy blue. I knew my mistake, both mummy and daddy told me in the morning not to undress, to not take anything off and to go to the bathroom on my own. On my skin you could see quite clearly see hand imprints. I pleaded and pleaded with the teacher to not say a word. I did not want anyone to know, not my parents or any of the teachers, I just wanted my bruises to be forgotten about like they were never seen or discovered. This was the first time that someone had even suspected or seen real proof of what actually happened to me. However, she did not take it any further and retired a few years later. I told her my parents would kill me if anyone was to ever find out and she swore to never say a word as long as I promised to keep strong and that one day the pain will finally end.

This was my life until I spoke out and told my high school everything one being that my father had been arrested for sexual assault in Birmingham in a psychiatric unit based in a hospital and was struck of the NHS due to gross misconduct and was a Mental Health Nurse. She later died due to injuries suffered and prior health in which she had a brain tumor. He was accused prior to that and was suspected of 5 separate incidents at a London Mental Health Asylum including a death of a patient whilst others were rape and assault charges. After speaking out to the school, I was issued a social worker. April 1st 2010, I was granted a care order which removed me from the home and placed me into emergency care and then I received my full care order meaning I stayed in the care system till I was 18. I had 3 emergency placements, 1 short term, 1 long term and a children’s home. 

My Healing Journey

I found my voice within myself because I realized if that if no one was going to stand with me or for me then I will do so myself so I did. I may myself better by making a new life for myself, in a different country, doing what I want to do in life. Throughout my childhood, there was numerous of occasions where professionals and those known to me could.

When I was younger, I used to self-harm and run away and suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and an escape from everything and it helped me till a point when I realized that running away from everything was never going to fix it but if I stayed out then it could be solved. Over time I’ve learned to things can change but only with action and action is what I did. I spoke up. I changed my life. I sought an education. I changed myself to be the best version of myself not just for me but for others too. I started helping charities such as 70/30 and Respect Yourself and co-held an event for “Hope and Help” (part of Respect Yourself). I hope to be doing more throughout the year. I also participated in a project called “Nevertheless, She Persisted” where an Edinburgh based photographer took it upon herself to do the project showcasing 25 portraits in both Edinburgh and London galleries. I have also written my story for Say It Forward and The Pixel Project. I also participated in a BBC interview on PTSD as I suffered with it when I was younger.

I underwent various types of counselling as a child and young teen and had been to art therapy as well as CBT. What gave me the confidence and the strength to speak up was one of my favorite carer’s at my children’s home and a male night worker, I bonded with the both straight away and with both of their help and support they have truly molded me into the person I am today and I will always be thankful and grateful for it. It was frowned upon to have favorites but she was mines and she saw potential I me that others never quite saw and if it wasn’t for her intervention when it happened to the story on my children’s home staff’s story of sexual abuse, if she can speak up then so can I. 

Nevertheless, She Persisted: https://www.mhairibellmoodie.com/neverthelessshepersistedgallery/3cwmzyoymkitxfgzm688yvkryafrdk 

BBC Interview: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/magazine-39811540/ptsd-i-thought-it-was-a-man-thing 

Say It Forward: https://sayitforward.org/my-childhood-from-hell/ 

The Pixel Project: http://reveal.thepixelproject.net/2017/05/the-survivor-stories-project-2017-cassandra-pullman-20-united-kingdom/ 

70/30: Campaign:https://www.70-30.org.uk/child-abuse-survivor-cassie-pullman-shares-her-story-with-the-bbc/ 

“You will survive because you were born to be great, you were born to be the best you can be and you were born to make changes and change is what you will one day bring. You have untamable fire in your soul that will keep you going and that fire, those ambers will keep on burning brightly for you because you will shine and be the spark that will help others speak out and get help.

To My Younger Self

Dear younger me, 

You are worth everything that you’ve gone through and for what’s coming next, you are stronger then you think and loved more than you know. I love you and you are me and we will get out. We will have a life worth living. We will have peace, we will have freedom, we will have hope, we have wisdom, we have time and we have inspiration. Life will get better, no matter what happens next and no matter how low or suicidal you feel, trust your gut that’s something utterly beautiful and spectacular will happen, it will take time and patience but it will be achieved. Just never lose hope. You are perfect in every way, it might not seem it now but everything you go through, shapes you into the person I am today. One day you’ll be safe from harm, you’ll be cared for and loved, you’ll be happy and full of life you’ve just got to hold on because the pain will one day end.

I know the pain you hold behind your smile, I still feel that pain but that pain will one day be the driving force you need to keep on living each day. You will get through this and when you do you’ll be stronger than you have ever been and when tis finally over, you’ll finally know what true peace and happiness is. There is always a rainbow at the end of a storm and even though you feel like your trapped in a continuous storm one day you’ll be taken away from it all and be given the life you’ve always longed for, far away from those vile despicable humans and free to be the person you are, just believe you can and you will. And never ever apologies for being you, forget what others say, you are you and that’s that and no one is ever going to change that part of you no matter how much situations get manipulated.

You will survive because you were born to be great, you were born to be the best you can be and you were born to make changes and change is what you will one day bring. You have untamable fire in your soul that will keep you going and that fire, those ambers will keep on burning brightly for you because you will shine and be the spark that will help others speak out and get help. You will one day help others to find their voice and that’s all because one day you found yours.

Also PS, being gay isn’t a crime so don’t hold back from being you, show you’re rainbow colors and there is nothing wrong with you for liking the same sex is the worlds who is wrong for hating and condemning you for it. Love is love. You are you so never ever change yourself for anyone or anything cause it isn’t worth it just be you and battle through what happens next.

Most importantly, I’m so proud of you for making it through, I am so proud that you’re still here and that after numerous suicide attempts you always failed because of what you’ve done and will continue to do in the future won’t just help you, but others just like us too and always love yourself.