A woman from London has revealed that her father abused her for over a decade and at one point performed an abortion on her with a coat hanger. The abuse started when Judy van Niekerk was just six years old.
Judy told the Daily Mail, “Most people have happy childhood memories. Mine include my dad teaching me to swim and taking me for picnics. But I have a lot of bad ones memories too. When I was six and my dad taught me to box. I was only little but he expected me to fight him, even though it hurt me.”
Judy’s world feel apart when her mother left her father, Noah Walsh, for the first time. Judy said, “He was mean to my mum and called her useless and lazy and hit her.” Later her mother returned but left a second time when Judy was ten. She said, “Each time she left he treated me like his dutiful wife.”
By age 11, Judy was forced to share a bed with her father and was taken out of school. Her father would say, “you have too much to do here” and from that point on she was expected to care for her five other siblings.
She said, “I had to stay home and look after my five kid siblings. I had to get up early to make breakfast for everyone, and pack their lunchboxes. I was made to wash our clothes by hand, as we didn’t have a machine.”
To make matters worse, in 1979, Walsh won custody of Judy.
Judy said, “He threatened me with knives. The backbreaking housework left me feeling exhausted. By the evening I was always ready for bed – but my dad had other ideas. He made me stay up with him until he wanted to go bed. He would then demand that I sleep in his room, and would force himself on me. I was only a kid when he started to sexually assault and rape me. I was in such pain afterwards. He left me feeling confused and totally worthless.” That same year Judy became pregnant but miscarried and her father never found out. However, the abuse continued and even escalated. Judy said, “He told me I was evil and wasn’t worthy of his love. He said he had sacrificed having a life himself, to save me. He told me, ‘If you don’t change I’m going to have to kill you.”
Tragically, when Judy was 14 Walsh got so angry with her that he shot her in the chest. When she went to the hospital, her dad told the doctors that she accidentally shot herself. Then when Judy was 15 she became pregnant for the second time.
Judy said, “I wanted to keep the baby as I was incredibly lonely locked up all day. I hoped it would give me someone to talk to. But dad couldn’t risk people knowing what he’d done to me. So he punched me in the stomach, made me take scolding hot baths, to try and end the pregnancy. Finally he carried out a home abortion using a coat hanger.”
Unfortunately, two years later she had another abortion at an abortion clinic. “Later I apologized to dad for getting pregnant. I felt it was my fault. I was brainwashed,” said Judy.
Finally, when Judy was 20 years old, she was able to escape from her father. Initially she escaped to London where she started training to be an accountant but then left for South Africa when she realized she was still too close to her dad.
It was in South Africa that she met her husband, Tiny, who encouraged her to press charges against her father.
Thankfully, in 2000, Noah appeared before the Central Criminal Court in Dublin where he admitted to three charges of rape and two of indecent exposure. However, the court only heard five sample charges from 30 in all. The Judge ruling in the case, Justice Carney, described the crimes “as one of the worst cases of this nature he had ever heard.”
In 2004, Walsh was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in prison. Unbelievably, Judy decided to visit him before he died. She said, “I realized I had to tell him I cared. I was grateful for everything he’d taught me – how to swim, and be strong. I was scared at first but the fear soon melted away as I set eyes on dad who was ravaged by cancer and frail.”
Judy concluded, “I hated seeing him suffer and he was pleased to see me. He was confused about why I’d reported him to police though. But it didn’t upset me, or make me angry. I couldn’t judge him. I told him, “I love you” and he said it back. After he died I was sad. He was still my dad. I was pleased I’d got to see him one last time. I had complete love and compassion for him. But finally I was at peace.”