Here, Emma, tells the story in her own words.
M￼y grandad Karl was always so happy to see me.
‘Grandad’s little girl,’ he’d say, his pet name for me. ‘You’re always welcome here.’
He lived in a one-bedroom flat on our street, barely two minutes away.
So after he had a heart attack when I was 11, I told Mum and Dad I’d like to stay at his place a few nights a week to keep him company.
Soon, I started staying at Grandad’s every weeknight.
I’d go to Mum and Dad’s after school, have a bath, eat dinner and put on my PJs, before dashing to Grandad’s. I loved it. We’d watch TV and chat.
We also shared the same bed, but he said no-one was allowed to know.
‘They wouldn’t understand,’ he whispered, tapping his nose.
When Mum or Dad came over, he’d tell them the sofa was too uncomfortable for me so he’d given me his bed. One night, I arrived after he’d been drinking.
‘I’m going to order us a Chinese,’ he slurred.
Then he grabbed my head and started wiggling his tongue at me, coming closer and closer.
Suddenly, he stuck his tongue violently into my mouth. My stomach turned in disgust. I was so shocked and confused, I couldn’t say a word.
The taste of his saliva, his bumpy tongue and stale beer made me retch.
Another night when he’d drank heavily, he took a little blue pill as I lay in bed. I turned away, pretending to go to sleep but my mind was racing. Grandad wasn’t going to let anything stop him.
Pawing at my nightclothes, he removed them completely.
Every inch of my skin crawled with dread, anticipating the horror that would inevitably arrive.
Ignoring my distress, he used all his weight to pin me to the bed. I smelt minty mouthwash on his breath.
Then, my grandad, my hero, raped me. I was only 11 years old.
A searing pain tore through my body. ‘No, it hurts!’ I cried, but he carried on.
Paralysed with terror, I was powerless to fight him off.
‘Trust me, this is what should be happening,’ he grunted.
As time went on, Grandad raped me every night. It was relentless.
Soon, Grandad also arranged for other men to abuse me once or twice a week, at his flat, or in dirty vans hidden in bushes.
I hated myself for letting those men rape me but I had no idea how to stop it.And I hated these monsters.
Most had wedding rings on. It repulsed me that they cheated on their wives and I wondered about their children.
By 17, I’d worked out I must have been raped by more than 200 of them.
Once, Grandad brought over a piece of paper from the car with a list scrawled onto it.
Peering across, I was shell-shocked. It was a ‘price list’ for me – ranging from $17 for oral sex to $90 for full sex. When I heard him reading it out to a client, I wanted to be sick.
My poor parents were still completely clueless about the abuse that was being inflicted on their little girl.
How could they have guessed that I was the victim of a paedophile ring?
At age 18, after more than seven years of abuse, I decided enough was enough.
Speaking to Dad on the phone, I confessed everything.
‘Grandad’s been trying to force me to sleep with old men for money… and him too,’ I blurted out. ‘He makes me work as a prostitute…’
‘Don’t you dare go near that… thing again,’ Dad said, his voice shaking with fury. And then, more softly he said, ‘I believe you, Emma.’
So, to get evidence, I set a trap for Grandad, writing him a text message.
It’s been a while since we had sex and you haven’t taken me to other men to have sex for money, I wrote.
He replied, writing back, Don’t worry, I’ll sort something out this week.
The police were called and my grandfather, Karl Barker, 69, was arrested. In April 2015, he appeared in court.
At the last minute, he pleaded guilty to rape of a child under 13, arranging the prostitution of a child and other sex offences.He was sentenced to 22 years in prison.
Grandad’s Girl, by Emma Louise, Ebury Press, is on sale now.
If you are experiencing abuse and need help, call 1800 737 732 (Aus) or 0800 456 450 (NZ).
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