A woman says she was left infertile after her biological dad repeatedly raped her when she was a child.
Karen Wernham was just seven-years-old when her dad Dave began raping her multiple times a day. The rape continued until she was eight. Karen’s parents had separated and she would visit her dad on weekends during which he would sexually assault her.
Karen said her dad even tried to convince her that the rapes would lead to him getting back together with her mother.
Karen said: “The first time it happened, I had been out playing with friends, I was shattered and I fell asleep on the sofa. I woke up sometime later, in great pain in my stomach and he was naked on top of me, grunting and groaning. I didn’t know what was happening and I was just shouting at him to get off me because of the weight of his body on mine. I didn’t understand sex, I was seven and that was the first time he actually did rape me.”
Karen said the abuse would happen two or three times a day and he would tell her: “If you let me do this to you it will get me and your mum back together.”
Because she wanted badly for her parents to reconcile, she kept the rape a secret. He later threatened that if she spoke about it, child services would take her from her mum.
The now 51-year-old, from Warrington, said: “What seven-year-old child doesn’t want their parents to get back together? He said I would ‘spoil things’ so I kept his secret.
“As time went on and it became clear that they were not going to get back together, he started to say if I didn’t let him do it to me then social services would find out and I would be taken away from my mum.”
Karen said her dad tried to cover up the abuse by stopping her from playing out with friends.
She said: “He would say that I was asleep on the sofa. He’d tell them that was why the curtains were closed, but he kept them closed because he was raping me. I began wetting the bed and I had tests at hospitals for urinary infections but no-one suspected anything. The rape, abuse, and slaps continued until one day when I ran away from his house. I had wet his sofa while I slept and woke up petrified that he would hurt me. I got up and opened the door as quietly as I could as I knew if he caught me he would be furious. It was early morning and I was only seven and trying to navigate my way miles and miles back to my mum’s house.”
The abuse left her mentally and emotionally scarred and she began to blame herself, she said. She also tried to take her life on different occasions. On one of those occasions, after taking an overdose, she walked to the park, saw a telephone box and took the decision to call Childline. She began getting professional help afterward.
Years later, in her twenties, Karen found out her abusive dad had re-married and had three children, all of a young age. The realization that he could abuse those children like he had abused her made Karen report him to police. Dave was arrested, but released on bail and as Karen prepared to face her abuser in court, she was given the news that he had committed suicide while awaiting trial. He hanged himself. It angered her that she will never see her father face justice after he killed himself while awaiting trial.
Months later, she met the man who later became her husband and told him what had happened to her as a child. She gave him the option of walking away but he chose to stand by her. After they got married, they never had kids. They tried IVF but lost the twins. It was then that doctors told her she could have been suffering from an infection that her father passed on to her as a child. She has been happily married for 21 years now but has to live with the fact that she can never have kids of her own.