WHEN 25-year old Maya’s father walked her down the aisle on her wedding day it would have seemed to everyone in the congregation they had a normal, loving relationship.
However Maya Meftahi had been harbouring a dark secret of a childhood of serial sexual abuse, which only ended when she left home age 16.
Maya, now 35, was just four years old when her childhood became a living nightmare at the hands of the man she called her father.
She previously told the Sun how her father drugged her hot chocolate and even had a secret sex shrine to her in the attic.
She told Sun Online: “He’d dress me in revealing clothes for a child. He insisted my blonde hair was kept at a certain length and no one was allowed to touch it. I was treated as his prize possession but had had total control.”
“My first memory is from when I was about four, waking up watching cartoons and feeling my dad stroking my body with his hands down his trousers”, she says, speaking in 5star documentary, My Dad the Paedophile.
“He told me that he loved me ‘too much’ and the ‘too much’ was why he couldn’t keep his hands off me,” Maya chillingly recalls.
Despite the abuse going on throughout her whole childhood, Maya never told a soul and instead felt a deep urge to protect her father.
“He told me that he would kill me if anyone found out and even showed my how he would do it with the car and a petrol can.
“Growing up this became so deeply ingrained, I believed him and I could not be responsible for his death,” she says.
‘He gave me a score out of 10’
Under pressure from threats of suicide from her dad, Maya had planned to keep her treatment a secret until a police investigation contacted her with some appalling news.
“As far as I knew, the abuse had stopped when I left but I didn’t know that he had been recording me,” she says.
But after an anonymous tip off, police had seized the family’s computer and unearthed hundreds of indecent images and videos documenting Maya’s childhood.
The officers also informed Maya that they had found a diary.
Sickeningly, the man who was supposed to be her protector had kept a notebook in which he would detail the horrific acts and give them a rating out of ten.
“The officer’s face said she wasn’t sure if I would be resilient enough to read it. But I looked at it and it contained a lot of numbers. Numbers of the incidents of abuse and rapes,” she says.
Maya’s voice breaks as she struggles to recount: “And he would score me on a level of one to ten for that particular incident.”
Maya then made the difficult decision to watch some of the footage of which she had no recollection.
‘Daddy, are you happy now?’
“I was wearing my primary school pinafore and white socks and was sat on the bed while he was masturbating in front of me. I remember the words I said were: ‘daddy, are you happy now’?” she recalls.
The frank, confronting descriptions of child abuse makes the documentary chilling viewing.
“Another video was very physical. He was telling me to prepare because it was a ‘big day’… He was telling me he would get me everything I wanted and that he loves me. I tell him to get off me, that’s when I kick the camera, and it falls.
“I am glad I watched the videos because I needed to know at least I tried to fight”.
Reflecting on the years of abuse she suffered, the now 35-year-old and mother of one admits she still battles to come to terms with her experiences.
“It’s beyond comprehension what happened to me – you just go into survival mode. He just held so much power and control over me,” she says.
In 2012 Maya’s dad pleaded guilty and was given 10 years behind bars.
Shockingly, 1 in 20 children in the UK have been subject to some form of abuse like Maya and only one in three tell anyone. Horrifyingly, 90 per cent of victims of child abuse know their perpetrator.
‘I kicked him and begged him to stop’
Emily, now 24, was raped by her father in her bedroom while her brothers were downstairs during a weekend stay at her dad’s.
Fighting back tears as she speaks, Emily says she remembers kicking her dad and begging him to stop before he pinned her down and raped her.
Reflecting on her past now, Emily can see, however, that the abuse started when she was far younger.
“It started when I was about seven when dad would always want me to sit on his lap and gave me too many hugs and kisses. Looking back I feel sick… I feel angry and disgusted,” she says.
When she was 17, she was staying at her dad’s house following her parents separation when he encouraged her to drink alcohol.
“It was the first time I’d been drunk, I’d been tipsy but not drunk. I remember just blacking out on the stairs. The next thing I know, dad is putting me to bed and I remember thinking that he was just looking after me,” she says.
‘I’m glad I was drunk so I can’t remember as much’
However, with her brothers downstairs and her mum miles away, Emily’s father took advantage of his drunk daughter.
“The next thing I know, I blackout again and he’s on top of me. In a way, I’m thankful because I was drunk so I can’t remember as much. It was the first time I had sex,” she recalls.
Emily went home and told her mum Carol who she says was rendered speechless by the news which she admits still struggles to comprehend.
They contacted the police and Emily’s dad was found guilty of child rape and sentenced to nine years in prison.
It took Emily three years before she felt comfortable to try and have a romantic relationship.
She admits that she struggles with intimacy as a result of what happened and that even holding hands can prompt unwelcome memories.
Emily is now in a loving relationship with her partner Barney who recently became new parents to baby Percy.
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Speaking about telling Barney about her past, Emily says: “He did struggle to understand what dad had done to me mentally… but Barney has been my rock. I felt worthless and he’s completely changed the way I see myself.”
Emily is now looking forward to a bright future with Barney and their son.
“Becoming a mum changed me overnight and has been the best thing ever,” she says with a smile.
My Dad the Paedophile airs tonight at 9pm on 5star.