A BRAVE Barnsley woman who was abused for years as a child has spoken out against her abuser in the hope that others feel confident enough to come forward themselves.

Ian Percival, 46, of Market Place in Cudworth, was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail on December 15 at Sheffield Crown Court.

Following an almost two-week long trial between November 28 and December 8, he was found guilty of sexual assault of someone under the age of 13.

He was also placed on the sexual offenders register for life.

A female victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, was just five years old when the abuse started in 2004 - and it carried on until she turned eight.

After suffering years of mental torment at the hands of Percival, she says she’s finally glad to see him behind bars.

“I have struggled with my mental health for a number of years and I know this is down to what he did to me as a child,” she added.

“I have been diagnosed with anxiety, depression and emotional unstable personality disorder.

“There have been multiple occasions where I have made attempts on my own life by taking an overdose.

“I have suffered with self harm tendencies since I was 11 years old.

“It was so bad that at one point there was a discussion around me being sectioned.

“I have suffered very vivid nightmares from being a very young child,

“These nightmares are about men trying to attack me and get on top of me.

“I usually wake up crying or suffering an anxiety attack.”

She added that the abuse she was forced to go through still has an impact on her personal life to this day.

“What he did to me has had a drastic effect upon my relationships with men,” she added.

“I feel incredibly anxious about progressing to having a sexual relationship with a partner.

“I am very anxious in general about men.

“The presence of men around me makes me feel very uncomfortable and on edge unless it is somebody I fully trust like my dad.

“When I am upset, I can’t allow anybody to touch me.

“I think this is because I am upset and feeling vulnerable I cannot bear being touched.

“This stems to not having any control when he touched me.

“Now I have that control but it means that I can’t allow people that love me to comfort me when I need it the most.

“I find it difficult to walk alone anywhere, even if this is a trip to shops.

“I cannot walk alone at night time as I worry men are going to attack me.”

Following his sentencing, the victim said she wanted to spread her story in hopes that others will come forward - and she hopes the same will not happen to anyone else.

“I do feel that there is other potential victims as other girls did have things to say about Percival but without enough evidence to take to trial,” she added.

“I think this being released opens opportunity for other victims to come forward and it allows local people to know the character of this man.

“Even though he has been found guilty, I still have vivid memories of what he did to me.

“However what gives me some peace is that he can’t go on to harm anybody else.

“This is one of the big things that caused me to eventually report what happened to the police.

“This is enough for me.”