GRAN SHARES ABUSE STORY; Tale Helps Play to Highlight Horrors of Sexual Violence

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Byline: LINDSEY MUSSETT

A MUM'S experience as a victim of sexual abuse is forming part of a play highlighting the issue.

The 69-year-old suffered in silence for nearly four decades after being abused by a family member from the age of 11.

And she is one of a number of women who have lent their experiences to a theatre group's research as they prepare to bring a play highlighting sexual violence to Teesside.

The Open Clasp theatre company will perform BlueGiro tomorrow at Barnardo's Bridgeway Project centre in Allendale Road, Ormesby.

The play - named from a slang term describing a 'grass' - aims to give audiences a night out, and has plenty of moments of humour, but also shines a light on the issue of sexual violence.

It also aims to expose myths surrounding sexual violence and challenge the ideas people may hold about who commits sexual violence, as well as the blame that often falls on victims.

The married mum, who is from the Middlesbrough area and can not be named for legal reasons, said: "I was 11 at the time and the abuse was by a family member.

"He started abusing me then and it carried on until I was 17.

"I didn't dare tell anybody - he used to threaten me.

"At that age you're brought up to respect your elders and, when it's a family member too, you feel such confusion and conflict - you're getting mixed messages.

"When you're going through all the ordinary emotions that teenagers go through you're having to deal with all that as well. …