Home UK News ‘Incest is rife in the UK’: Carol Higgins

‘Incest is rife in the UK’: Carol Higgins

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Carol Higgins and her rapist Elliott Appleyard

Carol Higgins, 54, of Yorkshire, suffered long-term sexual abuse by her father, Elliot Appleyard, who vowed to ‘treat her as a wife’. She has now released a book in the hope it helps any child experiencing the same as her.

Higgins’ abuse started at age 13, and developed into Appleyard putting an engagement ring on her finger, promising they would ‘live happily ever after’. The rapist even took her to a tattoo parlor to get his nickname branded onto her skin.

She initially reported him to the police in 1985 but was discouraged by officers who said it would “blacken her name” and made her “the biggest slag going”. She went back in 2005, 2012, and 2014, before an investigation was finally launched in 2015. Appleyard was finally convicted in 2019 and sentenced to 20 years.

Elliott Appleyard and Carol Higgins
Higgins and her abuser

She said: “It has been difficult to write because it’s invoked a lot of emotions. It’s also been cathartic in a way, as all my feelings and frustrations are coming out from the tears I’ve cried. I’m still on my healing journey, but it’s helped me overcome my emotional trauma and I would encourage other people to do the same.

I decided to write to book as I wanted to raise awareness for sexual abuse inside the home. It’s not talked about enough. There’s plenty of education for children on stranger danger and abuse outside the home, but what about inside? When I was being abused, I thought it was normal for so long. I thought what my dad was doing to me was normal.

Incest is rife in the UK and there’s not enough being done about it. I’ve found that a lot of people feel very uncomfortable taking about familial rape because people don’t want children to know that their parents are capable of raping them.”

Higgins is now taking legal action against West Yorkshire Police due to their management of her case from 2005-2019.

The abuse

In court back in 2019, she described how she was raped ‘3 or 4 times’ a week on average in the 1980s. He domestically abused her mother; she recounted one instance where he ‘threatened her with a machete because of a sex dream’ and ‘pointed a shotgun to her head’.

The abuse began one a day where Appleyard shot the family dog, and consoled Higgins by ‘kissing her like a boyfriend’. She told her mother who challenged him on it before leaving him and tried to take her daughter with her.

However, she could not adequately care for her and Carol was forced to return to the home, and the rapist then put her mother’s engagement ring on her finger. After the first incident of rape, Carol asked him what her grandfather what think of his actions.

His response was: “He believes the same as me – that grandfathers should break their daughters in like the Indians do.”

She says in her youth she did not understand that what was happening was wrong, and as an adult now, is plagued with feelings of guilt and shame for not demanding that he stop.

Higgins’ book, Conquering the Impossible: Justice is available on Amazon.

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