This is Chris. Her father raped or abused her every day until she was 15 years old. “I just knew he couldn’t break me,” she says, when I asked her how she survived. “There was something about me that meant I wouldn’t go under.”
To help other abused women – and, increasingly, men – for the last 35 years she’s run The Haven, a charity that offers free counselling in north London. Chris often works from eight in the morning to 11 at night, seven days a week – counselling people, applying for grants, keeping The Haven open as government funding cuts force similar local projects to close.
The childhood abuse has left Chris with life-long health problems. “I’m in pain every day. Constant pain,” she says. “Sometimes you can see it in my eyes. But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. And what’s the option? To give up? No, you just get on with it.”
I wrote about Chris for the London Community Foundation, one of her funders. more info here.