Tressa Middleton’s harrowing memoir about being raped by her brother aged 11 and giving birth to their child has generated headlines all over the world.
Tressa’s shocking biography Tressa: The 12-Year-Old Mum about becoming Britain’s Youngest Mum this week made headlines in Indonesia, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Taiwan, Australia and Malaysia.
Tressa, now 21, bravely spoke out on ITV’s This Morning on Thursday in a touching interview which provoked a national outpouring of sympathy.
Presenter Philip Schofield even read a letter taken from the book which highlighted Tressa’s deep love for the daughter she had to give up for adoption.
He read: ‘You are never far from my thoughts. Every day, you are the first person I think of when I wake up and the last person in my mind as I drift off every night. You are the beating pulse of life. In my cupboard I keep the clothes you were wearing when you were just a wee baby. The pink and white babygros I dressed you in, the crocheted yellow cardigans that kept you warm. Everyone says I should get rid of them – but I can’t.’
Tressa made UK history when she became Britain’s youngest mum in 2006 aged just 12 years and 8 months.
Her case provoked shock and outrage – but the truth behind the headlines was far sadder than anyone could ever have imagined.
Born into a life of poverty and neglect, Tressa was forced to grow up fast when she taken into care at just four years old.
She was returned to her mother’s chaotic world but by the age of seven, she was being abused by her own brother and at 11 years old she fell pregnant with his child.
For years she kept his dark secret in an attempt to hold her family together until the truth threatened to destroy her completely.
In the years since the birth, Tressa has gone through more pain and turmoil than most adults experience in a lifetime – yet today she survives a brave, strong and compassionate young woman.
She hopes that by sharing her story she can inspire other children who are suffering to reach out for help and also try to stop other young mums coming in for the same recriminations she faced.
‘People made assumptions about me,’ says Tressa from her home in Bathgate, Scotland. ‘They called me a slag, they thought I had brought it all on myself. I think that when a young girl of 11 years old is pregnant, people ought to be thinking: who has raped her? Because a child of that age is not able to consent to sex, so it must be rape.’
First Features’ Katy Weitz, who helped Tressa pen her memoir, adds: ‘Tressa has been a truly inspiring person to work with and I’m so proud to be associated with this work. She has come through the most awful start in life with quiet dignity, courage and compassion. At heart she is just a truly lovely person and it is a tragedy what happened to her. But she proves that it is possible to survive terrible events in your life with love and positivity in your heart. Most of all , she has shown me that there is no true black and white in life, just a great many grey areas. Her capacity for forgiveness is truly admirable. I’ve learnt so much from working with her and I hope now others too can take away something positive from her experiences.’
You can read Tressa’s moving and inspiring story here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tressa-The-Twelve-Year-Story/dp/1784183768