A mother has spoken candidly about how her five-year-old daughter is struggling to come to terms with being raped repeatedly by her older brother.
The little girl’s ordeal began when she was just four years old when her half brother, who was 12 at the time, began raping her during games of hide and seek.
Her brother bribed her with Skittles to keep quiet but the truth finally came out when the girl asked her mother: “How do I stop crying, mummy?”
Speaking at Brighton Youth Court, the mother said: “I saw what I can only describe as a shadow come across my child’s face.
“The shadow returns every time his name is mentioned. She was waking five times a night with night terrors.
“She still wakes crying and calling to me. She has suffered separation anxiety. She panics if I leave her for even a couple of minutes, if I just move into a different room.
“It has been devastating to witness her distress. She had to be prepared for a day in court and had to relive her trauma.”
The mother went on: “This was harrowing. She cries for half an hour and won’t let me comfort or cuddle her.
“At one stage she cried uncontrollably for 45 minutes. Sometimes she says “How do I stop crying mummy? Help me, help me’.
“Unfortunately I know there will be more difficult times to come. Long term she will have to deal with the repercussions of her traumatic experiences for the rest of her life.
“I’m so scared for her future. Even once the court process is over this goes on for her.
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“As a mother I find this totally terrifying. The attacks happened in the spring last year with the girl telling her mother about them while she was in the bath.”
However, the mother also praised her daughter’s extraordinary bravery, adding: “I can’t end this statement without saying what an amazing little girl she is.”
Speaking during the trial, the girl’s mother revealed the girl showed her where she was abused using a doll.
The youth court hearing, held at Brighton Magistrates’ Court in East Sussex, was told the offences happened between January and August last year.
After the girl finally opened up about her abuse, she divulged further details about a week later – including how she was given sweets to keep quiet.
Her mother said: “She said he offered her sweeties to do this. She said she didn’t like it but she liked the sweeties.
“I said to her liking sweeties was perfectly all right but he should never have offered her sweets to do something like that.
“She was clearly disgusted. She said ‘he made me like Skittles’. She was clearly cross about that.
“She said ‘don’t tell him’ because he had told her not to say anything. I said to her ‘why didn’t you tell mummy?” and she said ‘he told me not to’.
“She told me it had happened a thousand times. She doesn’t understand exactly what a thousand means, but it means many.”
The mother said her daughter and half brother – who would visit their home every couple of weeks – had previously had a good relationship, and ‘he seemed to care about her’.
But the girl suddenly told her mother that she didn’t like her brother and stopped looking forward to his visits.
The boy, now aged 14, has been released on bail until next month when he will appear at Lewes Crown Court and has been warned he faces a significant sentence.