Because You're A Woman

About The Book

An autobiography of a professional woman approaching sixty, reflecting on her life in the light of the traumatic and relentless sexual and emotional abuse she experienced during her childhood, at the hands of her father.

Because You're A Woman

"An incredibly honest story of an emotive subject, and the effects it had on the lives of the people involved. A triumph of the human spirit over adversity written in a unique style, which combines beautiful poetry and excellent narration to take the reader comfortably to its conclusion."
Mr Allan James

Read more reviews of 'Because You're A Woman'

'Because You're A Woman' deals with the effects of the abuse on her relationships with the men in her life, her personality and family relationships. The dramatic impact of the birth of her daughter was the catalyst that threw her headlong into an extensive experience of different therapies and healing paths as well as the trauma of divorce and emotional breakdown. How she finally broke free from the burden of guilt and develops into the confident women she has now become completes the story of this lifelong journey.

“I was anxious about whether I would find a book on this subject too harrowing but this is a book unlike any other book you've ever read. Jacki's style is so open and honest. She shines a light on a shady subject and deals with it in a positive and courageous way. I couldn't put it down. You have to keep reading to find out how she gets through it all. And she does. This is a tale of triumph over adversity that will resonate with anyone that has suffered any knock in life. I thoroughly recommend it.”
Review posted on

Through a combination of engaging prose and compelling, graphic poetry, this book illuminates, with tears and laughter, the trials she endures throughout her battle with the long-term effects of the abuse and the strengths that take her to ultimate triumph.

Because You're A Woman

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Chapter 1

Married in April 1947, my parents had only one short month together before my father was sent to the Middle East with the Royal Signals Army Corp. Perhaps I was conceived the night before he left as an unwilling conscriptee, boarding ship for a faraway destination, an insecure young man, newly wed and wanting only to cement his marriage and new role as husband.

It must have been a shock for my father reading the handwritten letter, as he sat in his desert tent in Egypt, learning of the impending arrival of a baby. How welcome months later, was the news of the arrival of his daughter? An intruder into that new and fragile relationship, now metamorphosised into something totally different to the one he had been forced to leave. How did he feel all those long months away? His own mother had died giving birth to him. Was he afraid that he would lose his young wife? Was he already jealous of me, able to enjoy the warmth and intimacy that he was being denied, curled deep within her in the warmth and safety of her womb, and then held in her arms, cuddled and caressed and much loved? Demanding her every attention whilst he was so far away, out of control, out of touch and unable to make his needs and wishes known.

My mother stayed with her parents, comfortably at home in a leafy avenue of terraced houses in Gillingham, Kent, and it was in a maternity nursing home only two streets away that I was born the following February in one of the harshest winters on record. Twenty foot snowdrifts were recorded, and ice bound ships were unable to deliver coal and food to the country. My mother, Marion was just 22. Letters flew back and forth between England and Egypt, until finally two crossed, both with the name "Jacqueline".

I am told that my grandfather adored me; that he could not bear to hear me cry, and that he spoiled me. Why not? I was his first grandchild. His own childhood had been passed in a Children's Cottage Home, because his mother, a single parent in the early 1900s, had been forced to hand him into care. His children had been born during the tough long years of the depression before the war, a time of tremendous financial struggle. He had, of necessity, travelled long distances to get work and worked long hours, taking any job he could to keep his young family fed and clothed. There was no dole or social security payments, no family income support system. If you had no job, you had no money. So it was understandable that he would want to give his first grandchild all the love, fussing and protection that he had never received, nor had the time and energy to give to his own children.

My mother's younger brother, Edward, was still living at home when I was born. He was sixteen and training to be a printer. He has told me that he would often lift me from my cot early in the morning, and take me downstairs to the scullery to make the morning tea, sharing a biscuit with me whilst waiting for the kettle to sing on the gas stove.

It is such a pity that I cannot recall those early months of life in my grandparents' house. They would be very precious memories of a time when I knew I was loved without condition. I have a photograph of myself aged about seven months, sitting in the garden on a pink blanket, dressed in a white knitted cardigan, probably made by my grandmother. For most of her life, until arthritis set in, she would have some knitting in a bag beside her armchair. My hair is blonde, framing a face that I cannot recognize as my own. Are they my eyes? Is that my mouth? Are those tiny chubby hands really mine? In the photograph I am looking up at someone, smiling in anticipation. I don't know why, but somewhere deep inside I believe it must have been my grandfather. On the back of the photograph it says 'Fluffy - Summer 1948'.

I must have been very contented living in the house that was later to become my only refuge in a very lonely world.

To me it will always be a wonderful house, full of vivid memories of childhood games of make believe and dressing up, of delicious smells of baked cakes and apple pie, of big soft feather beds, warmed with hot water bottles on a winter's night. A pervading smell of Palmolive soap filled the house, except in my grandmother's bedroom, where the air held the lingering perfume of her Ponds cold cream; all she ever used on her face, which was soft and clear until the day she died.

The senses' recollections are strong, and tears still fill my eyes when those fondest and dearest memories are woken from their slumber by these passing perfumes. In the fireplace, on the hearth in the kitchen, sat two brass Buddhas. They now sit next to the wood-burning stove in the little room at home where I work; two treasured, physical reminders of that almost magical house, providing a tangible link with the few cherished memories of the happier times in my childhood.

Because You're A Woman is published by Austin & Macauley in paperback and is available from: