A woman who has lived for years with memories of the sexual abuse she faced at the hands of her father is finally speaking out in the hopes of encouraging other women to prosecute their attackers.
Sylvia Prescott was just a teenager when she was sent to live with her father Oliver Garside, and the abuse began immediately. For years, Garside forced her to cook and clean for him as well as have sex with him.
“I was afraid of my father. He and my mum split when I was one and I lived with my grandmother until I was 11, then all of a sudden he wanted me to come and live with him,” Sylvia recounted. “The first time he abused me I knew I had to go along with it, but I never imagined how much worse it would get.”
Finally, Sylvia left her father’s home, got married, and had three children. She kept the abuse a secret for 30 years, not wanting to go public until after her grandmother died as she didn’t want to upset her.
When her grandmother passed away in 2012, Sylvia knew it was time to let her secret out. After holding it in for years, Sylvia was afraid of what would happen when she went to police:
“I was terrified that I wouldn’t be believed. The abuse happened such a long time ago and it took all the strength I had to go to the police, but in the end I’m so glad I did.
The prosecution were able to build a strong case against my dad and he pleaded guilty to the abuse meaning I didn’t have to go through the trauma of a trial.
It was during the sentencing that the judge said my dad’s excuse for the abuse was that he couldn’t afford a prostitute. I was sickened.
What kind of defense was that? However, I finally feel free to live my life without him hovering over me and I should have done it sooner.
I am so thankful for the support of my children and my husband, I don’t know where I would be without them.”
Before sentencing Garside to serious prison time, the judge ripped into him, saying, “You told the author of the pre-sentence report you would rather have paid a prostitute but you did not have the money to do so. Your behaviour has cast a shadow over her life to date. Even today she has to live with what happened so long ago.”
As for Sylvia, she is happy that justice has finally been served.
“I’m so relieved that he’s in jail now and I can breathe again.”
H/T: Daily Mail