Leicester woman who turned to alcohol after sex abuse felt silenced

A child sex abuse survivor has told how she felt silenced about her ordeal and turned to alcohol to cope.

Aunee Bhogaita, from Leicester, entered rehab for alcoholism last year, but said she felt her addiction was ignored by friends and family for years.

She said: "In the Asian community, we have the need to present ourselves as this picture perfect image."

Sikh Recovery Network, an addiction recovery charity, said it saw a 40% rise in calls during the pandemic.

'Numb myself'

Ms Bhogaita said she was sexually abused as a child and felt "more or less silenced".

"I never really got a chance to heal from that," she said.

She became an alcoholic at the age of 24.

"I was always trying to be someone other people wanted me to be," she said.

"I wanted something to numb myself from myself, and I chose alcohol.

"I was drinking previously but at the age of 24 I started to abuse alcohol; I started using it as a self-medicating thing."

Ms Bhogaita, 37, is now in recovery after a medical detox and a four-month stay in rehab.

She said: "Within the Asian community... we have the need to present ourselves as this picture perfect image. Because of that we often silence people.

"Within my own family, at first, there was shame [about my addiction].

"But it got to the point that they realised that I was dying.

"Once they realised the reality of the situation, all that worry of the shame went out the window."

In 2020 Ms Bhogaita's mother contacted the Sikh Recovery Network, a charity which provides addicts with information on where to receive help or treatment for alcohol and drug dependency.

 Jaz Rai says he fears women with addictions are suffering in silence

The charity said there had been a significant rise in the number of people who have called the service, but there are fears women continue to be under-represented.

The charity's founder Jaz Rai said only 10% of the calls received to the network were from women struggling with addiction.

He said: "I think more women are definitely suffering in silence, and are afraid to reach out for help.

"People who are already in toxic relationships, and for whom drink was their crutch, they've relied on it more, because they're not able to break free from that relationship or talk to anyone about it."