- Ann Tan*, 27
The very people who were supposed to protect Ann have all failed her in some way. For one, the youngest of five children was not only neglected by her parents, but also physically abused by them.
“They never cared about me. And whenever they quarreled, they’d take their frustrations out on me. My dad would slap me while my mum would pinch me,” she says.
When she was six, her father brought his mistress home to live with the family— a move that worsened the family dynamics and created a toxic home environment during the 10 years the woman stayed with them. “When I was 13, he decided he wanted to have sex with his mistress every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon, and that all of us would have to be out of the house during that time.
My mum would tell me, ‘Don’t go home. Just go out.’ I’d ask her, ‘Go where?’ and she’d just shrug,” she says. “There were times when I felt so abandoned that I wished I’d get knocked down by a car.”
Ann was also abused by her brother. “When I was 15, he started touching me and would even initiate sex. I’d turn him down and threaten to tell our elder sister to make him stop, but that didn’t deter him from trying again and again.”
When she was 18, she got