Liverpool: A 43-year-old woman, Erica Gimson from Liverpool has revealed how her mother had fed her raw potatoes, smashed her fingers in anger and also sexually abused her on several occasions. The victim needed counselling when she was much older because of all the abuse she had suffered in her childhood.
The mother, Marie Clarke, received a jail term of six years and eight months in March 2014, at the age of 60, on three sexual assault offences and 12 offences of child cruelty, but was released in July 2016 due to good behaviour.
According to a report in the Mirror, Gimson was only five-years-old when her mother started abusing her. She had lost her temper at Gimson when the latter made faces at the raw potatoes offered to her and forced her to eat them.
During such times, Clarke would take her to the kitchen, stretch out her fingers and hit them with a hammer. Gimson was quoted as saying, “As she hit my fingers with it, I imagined I was in a beautiful garden. The sun was shining, there was an old oak tree and lots of flowers.”
A morning after her mother had hit her fingers with the hammer, she was ordered to clean the house and could not go to school. She recalled being beaten badly with a bath brush.
She also often missed school because Clarke would keep her at home on some days to hide bruises from the beatings. But Erica was always afraid to complain about the abuse to her teacher since she’d always go to school in a tidy uniform and was afraid that she wouldn’t be believed.
Gimson said that the horrors of her childhood abuse still give her nightmares. As a child, she had always been afraid to cry or complain about pain as she was afraid of annoying her mother.
In one case, Gimson got her report card and her school teacher was pleased with her progress. But afraid that her mother would not be happy, she dumped it in a trash can.
That evening another parent informed her mother about the children getting their report cards. When the parent left, Clarke stomped into the room and asked Erica about it, to which she replied that she had lost it.
She forced her daughter’s neck under cold water in the bath tub. “I could feel bubbles of air rising escaping through my nose. Then everything went black”, said Erica. She woke up in a towel in her bedroom.
She said that her mother had beaten her with the hammer, with a cast iron frying pan, with the bath brush. Sometimes her mouth was washed out with soap and on some days she would be forced to drink salt water till she was sick.
“Sometimes she’d come upstairs to kiss me goodnight. Then she’d hold a pillow against my face until I thought I was going to die. Or she’d sit on my legs so I couldn’t move while she beat me”, she said.
The physical and sexual abuse started at the age of May 1978 and May 1985. When Erica was about eight years old, her mother came to her room and demanded that she "suck her nipples". From then on dreaded going to sleep at night. Once she protested and asked her mother not to do it, but the accused flew into a fit of rage and held her face against a lit bulb.
The mother had once hit Erica’s head on the wall and she lost consciousness but the doctor was told that she had bumped her own head. At the age of 12, Gimson gathered some courage to complain about the abuse to an elderly lady in the neighbourhood, who believed her and informed some social workers and the police.
The perpetrator was not arrested. The victim spent the next few years in children's homes and foster care. At 16, Gimson was pregnant and some social workers suggested she should forgive her mother.
After she gave birth to her daughter, she lived with her mother for a while. But once her baby was two and a half years old, she decided to go and stay on the other side of Liverpool. Her mother would visit, but the sight of her upset Erica, who then underwent counselling, realised the damage done to her and had her mother arrested and sentenced.