A brave woman who was raped and abused by her own dad has a powerful message for him after finally ‘finding her voice again’.
Caryn Walker, now 47, suffered years of horrific, systematic abuse at the hands of twisted Norman Yeo, who was jailed for 16 years in 2011.
Now courageous Caryn, from Merseyside, has one message for her caged father – “I made it. You didn’t break me. I’m still here.”
The victim changed her former name to rid herself of its association with her callous abuser, the Liverpool Echo reports.
She altered the spelling of her first name and took her grandmother’s surname.
She also refers to her father as “Norman” rather than “dad”.
And in a bid to help other victims find their voice again and overcome the trauma of abuse, Caryn has courageously waived her right to anonymity and written a book called Tell Me You’re Sorry, Daddy.
In harrowing detail, the daughter documents her ordeal and how she overcame the trauma of sexual abuse as a child.
Yeo was jailed for 16 years after being told by Judge John Phipps that he had ruined his – then unnamed – victim’s childhood, while his actions had also affected her entire life.
Yeo, who was from Wallasey but living in Leeds at the time of his arrest, had admitted 10 charges of indecently assaulting Caryn.
But he denied rape and claimed his abuse began after she turned 11, rather than at a younger age.
His denials forced his daughter to relive her ordeal in court.
Jurors rejected Yeo’s defence and found him guilty of a series of rapes, which reflected a course of conduct from when she was aged nine up to 16.
And in addition to the previously admitted charges of indecent assault, they also convicted him of a series of indecent assaults beginning in 1979, when she was just eight.
Judge Phipps told Yeo, who showed no emotion, that he had “secured the child’s silence, initially by telling her it was normal behaviour and later by subtle pressure”.
Seven years on, softly-spoken Caryn told the ECHO: “It was a hard decision to write the book. Over the whole process I have been afraid of people’s reactions.
But when I decided to do it I knew it was for the right reasons – and the reasons were stronger than my worries.”
Heartbreakingly, in parts of the book, Caryn directly addresses her much-loved and much-missed big sister, Jenny, who spent most of her childhood in care, starting from the age of just 18 months.
She died of a brain aneurysm in 2006, aged 36.
Caryn says: “I wanted to give Jenny the voice she never had, and for her to be acknowledged. I also want to help others who may have gone through what I have been through – or are still going through it. I want to help them find THEIR voice.
“I want to tell them ‘It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, you can do it. After 30 years, with just your voice alone, you CAN get justice’.
“I proved you can.”
In her book, Caryn bravely documents the beginning of her nightmare – and it is so painful to read.
“And there he was. My father. At my bedroom door.
‘Look,’ he whispered, and opened a magazine he had on his lap.
“It was full of pictures. Pictures of naked women. It was very explicit, I know that.
‘Look,’ he kept saying, ‘look.’ His eyes flitted from the pages to me, back and forth, back and forth. I had no idea what he wanted from me. Would I get into trouble for looking, or for not looking? When he didn’t get a reaction from me, he started talking about them, the women in the magazines, telling me I would be like that soon.
“I was eight. I was only a little girl. I didn’t want to see naked bodies.
A touching father and daughter moment. My first experience of pornography, my first real exposure to what his twisted mind enjoyed.
“He was back the next night, but this time there was no magazine. He said the thing he would keep saying for years. ‘All dads do this with their little girls. It’s normal. Everyone does it’.
“He started by touching me, then he got bolder. ‘This is what dads do with their little girls. You’ll thank me when you’re older.’
“It impacted on everything. From that moment on, I always felt I wasn’t good enough, that I was a bad girl who no one would like. I felt stupid and scared and filthy.”
Today, she says: “I still live it – every day. But I am more clear now about what it was. It was something done TO me – it wasn’t my responsibility or my fault. Before, I’d always carried a feeling of guilt about it.
“Now I know speaking out really is the first step to recovery. I am a different person today. I have shifted my guilt and shame.”
Caryn went to the police in 2010, when she was 39, after a chance encounter with Yeo during a visit to see her grandmother in a Kirkdale nursing home: “It occurred to me I didn’t know who he lived with – who he had access to. It wasn’t because of what he did to me but because of what he might do to someone else.”
She adds: “I always thought I would never be strong enough (to report him) and it wasn’t an easy decision – it was only on my third visit to the police station that I went in.”
And she also recalls: “I was so damaged at that time that I actually called Norman and apologised – not for going to the police but because other members of the family now knew about it. I wouldn’t do that today, but I felt so full of guilt and shame at the time.”
In the book, Caryn, who has a son, Karl, 29, and a partner of 18 years, Elroy, writes:
“Through seeing a support worker, I’d started to accept that what happened to me needed to be punished. Someone did need to say ‘sorry’.”
But Yeo continued to make her suffer, by ensuring she had to take the witness box and relive his abuse.
Caryn, though, found the strength to face him and tell the world what he had done for all those years.
And she says: “I was so relieved he got such a long sentence, because it really did matter – while knowing that all of those strangers believed me meant the world.”
But although Yeo – who is eligible for parole next summer – was jailed for 16 years, Caryn writes that he gave her a life sentence through his actions:
“I only had one child because I could barely cope with the anxiety and fear of raising a child in the world that had allowed my father to abuse me.
“I suffer from depression and get flashbacks and have nightmares. I’m unable to be alone with older men and I think of every one of them as a potential paedophile.”
Yeo took so much from Caryn, but he didn’t take everything – he didn’t take her strength and bravery.
As she tells her beloved late sister, Jenny: “I think I’m finally ready to step out into the light and say ‘I made it. You didn’t break me. I’m still here, I’m still standing’ – and I am shouting loud enough for both of us.”
Today, Caryn says: “I do struggle with my mental health and self-esteem – I don’t have confidence in myself. I always believed there was a blackness inside me that people could see – but I am working on that. I have been seeing a counsellor for the last five months.”
And this incredible woman, who is worthy of so much respect and admiration, stresses:
“If just one person, after reading my book, confides in someone else it will have all been worth it.”
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