16-year-old Emily Stickells was sexually assaulted in 2014 – 18 months before her parents found her dead in their family home.
She was immediately offered counseling service for her trauma, but Stickells denied treatment.
A decision that Emily made because no one believed her, according to her mother, Sharon Thomas.
“She felt nobody believed her, but I believed her.”
Thomas discovered her daughter’s body at home when she returned from work in the afternoon after Emily stopped responding to her parents text messages.
Assistant Coroner at the Cardiff Royal Infirmary, Thomas Atherton, says that Emily had split up with her boyfriend the night before she hanged herself.
Despite being under the age of 16 when Emily claims she was first sexually assaulted, her risk of further sexual exploitation was deemed minimal.
Atherton also said that Emily’s naturally shy nature made it difficult to convince her of receiving counseling, and she insisted that she was receiving and seeking support from her friends and family. Which wasn’t the case.
“Despite the fact she said she was coping with the consequence of that incident [the sexual assault] her natural shyness prevented her from telling the people helping her. I am very sad Emily did not feel confident enough to take up the counselling offered to her.”
Emily’s school headteacher, Alun Davies, honored Emily’s memory and offered praise for her contributions to the student body in a letter disseminated to parents. Students at Emily’s school are also being offered special counseling in the wake of her suicide.
“Emily will be remembered fondly by pupils and staff. She made a positive contribution to the school, representing Glantaf in field athletics, and was a popular and valued member of our community.”
If you or anyone you know is having difficulty coping with a sexual assault, please, get help.There are plenty of resources out there, you don’t have to face it alone.