Report Every Rape: 'Raped by the uncle who called me his favourite'

Published Thursday, Nov 14 2013, 20:00 GMT  |  By  |  Add comment
When Jessica Davidson, 21, finally reported her uncle's abuse, she discovered she wasn't the only one he'd taken advantage of

"When I was little, I adored my Uncle Keith. Whenever he came round, he'd spoil me, saying I was his favourite niece and buying me treats.

All of which made it even worse when he started to sexually abuse me and forced me to pose for nude photos. I felt completely betrayed. For many years I kept his sordid secret. But when I finally found the courage to report him, I discovered I wasn't the only one he'd exploited.

The first thing I remember about Uncle Keith was him treating me to a bag of sweets. My mum, Sue, now 44, brought up Leon, 24, Naomi, 23 and me on her own, and money was tight. So whenever Keith let us choose whatever we wanted from the local shop, it was extra special.

Jess is relieved her uncle is finally locked away

© Gareth Iwan Jones

Jess is relieved her uncle is finally locked away

We were a tight-knit family and when my grandparents decided to move from Lancashire to Bridgwater, Somerset, we went too, with Keith. While we waited for the council to house us, we were put in temporary accommodation – caravans. Keith's was just three up from ours, so I'd often stay over or help him cook dinner. He'd always give me a glass of lime cordial – my favourite drink – while I was there.

But when I was seven, he sat me on his lap and started rubbing my leg. He'd given me a thousand cuddles but this felt different.

My sister was playing outside but I was so shocked, I didn't dare call out. I looked at Keith in confusion. 'It's fine,' he reassured me. Scared I'd get into trouble if I said anything, I stayed quiet, but that night, I couldn't sleep. I could still feel his rough hand on my leg.

The abuse escalated quickly. The next time he handed me my lime cordial, it tasted different. Bitter. And it made my head spin. 'Let me take your picture,' he said, reaching for his camera.

I refused, wrapping my arms around myself. 'It's what all uncles do,' he said, forcing me to pose for him.

From then, I didn't want to see him on my own but I couldn't tell anyone why. Keith told me my sister would be jealous if she found out and that I'd get into trouble.

Once, he made me sit on his lap and I felt something hard. When I asked him what it was, he told me I was making him very happy. I was too young to understand.

Another time he tried to put his head between my legs and, as I squirmed out of reach, he laughed. It made me wonder if it was just a joke – a game for adults I didn't understand.

Jess was only a child when her uncle abused her

© Reader's own

Jess was only a child when her uncle abused her

For three years, Keith would ply me with alcohol, then touch me, make me touch him and pose for photos – often naked. He'd put on porn and sit me on his lap. He didn't speak or look at me, just stared at the writhing figures on the television.

He didn't try to have sex with me but it felt as bad as if he had.

It wasn't until I was 10 that I finally found the courage to stand up for myself. When Keith asked if I wanted to stay over, I said no. Soon after that, we were given a home and moved away from the caravans.

But the memories stayed with me. I struggled at school – male teachers made me uncomfortable and if someone offered me a sweet, his face flashed in front of me.

Countless times, I tried to tell Mum, but I couldn't find the words. Keith was her brother – what if she didn't believe me?

When I was 16, I got a job in McDonald's where I met Jacob Bryant, now 20. He was funny, sweet and after a year of friendship, we became a couple. But my past meant I couldn't relax. One minute I'd be kissing Jake, the next, Keith's face would pop into my head and I'd be seven again, scared and confused.

I'd push Jake away, making excuses, but he knew something was wrong. Eventually, I blurted it out: 'My uncle abused me.'

Keith White pleaded guilty to 34 charges of sexual abuse

© Gareth Iwan Jones

Keith White pleaded guilty to 34 charges

Jake took charge, taking me to my mum's house. I was crying and shaking but for the first time in my life, I felt safe. At Mum's, I couldn't say the words, so Jake told her. Instead of not believing me, Mum burst into tears and threw her arms around me.

She called my sister to make sure it hadn't happened to her too, then rang the police. Mum kept apologising but it wasn't her fault. Keith was the one to blame.

I told the police everything. The investigation took months, but when they finally arrested Keith, he admitted everything. The police searched his flat and took away his computer as evidence.

To my horror, they found 10,000 images of child pornography on there. He had an entire file dedicated to me, as well as thousands of others. I was disgusted – but also proud of myself. In some small way, I'd helped other children escape him.

The police charged Keith with 34 sexual offences, seven of which were against me and the rest for what they found on his computer. On 23 January 2012, Keith White, 49, pleaded guilty at Taunton Crown Court and was sentenced to six and a half years in prison.

Since then, I've had counselling and am coming to terms with the fact that I'm not to blame for what happened. It took me 10 years to admit what he did, but now I have, I'm finally free of him.

I hope telling my story encourages other people to tell their 'secrets'. People like Keith don't deserve freedom."

By Kim Willis