This Tangled Web


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175 in stock


By Kate Swift

ISBN: 978-1-84991-213-6
Published: 2010
Pages: 96
Key Themes: poetry, sexual abuse, mental illness



‘This Tangled Web’ is one woman’s journey from victim to survivor. It is the untangling of a web created by the pain of childhood sexual abuse. The author brings you to the centre of the web through her poetry and art, allowing you to see the journey through her eyes. This book has been written with other survivors in mind. It was always Kate’s desire to one day use her poetry for the benefit of other survivors. Remembering her own unquenchable thirst for knowledge and something to relate to…this is one woman’s attempt to untangle the web and help other survivors to achieve this too.

About the Author

Kate Swift was born into a family of 5 other siblings in the spring of 1977. Kate’s early years were not a great introduction into family life and the world around her. Her father worked hard and drank even harder, coming home to sleep off the alcohol. For Kate as a child of 3-4-5 he was a loud and scary person who ranted and raved. Kate found solace by hiding under the table until the shouting was done. Kate was a mummy’s girl, she adored and idolised her mother. Whilst her father was someone she felt never particularly wanted her. Kate enjoyed school and thrived on the love of her mother.

Life was never quiet with 5 other siblings around and the ups and downs of every day living. When Kate was in her 8th Year she was just like any other child… enjoying school, playing with her dolls, drawing pictures, making mud pies…just being a child until the day her life would change forever. The day her older brother placed his hand somewhere she had never been touched before. It was the school summer holidays…a bright sunny day and they were watching cartoons on television. That was the beginning of the end of her childhood and what followed was a further 8 years of being sexually abused. Kate would be woken up in the middle of the night by him climbing into her bed. In her sleepy state she would be told what was expected of her…not always with words in fact often with silent physical prompting. Always when he got what he wanted from her, he would turn and walk away never looking back or speaking. Kate was left with her soft toys for comfort. It won’t surprise you to know she suffered nightmares and was so afraid of the dark. Night times held a ritual for Kate; before she would go upstairs to bed she would send her dad up. What did she want him to check for? I guess her parents thought they were checking for ‘monsters’ under the bed. Her curtains had to be shut tight-no gaps, the light had to be on, the windows locked. Kate was trying to feel safe in a world where the danger was inside the house and silent. The sexual abuse was everything from touching to rape. Kate never knew when next he would come to abuse her. She would listen out for the floor board that creaked in a certain spot on the landing. No time of the day or night was off bounds to him depending on the availability of his victim and the right opportunity. Life continued as normally as was possible for Kate in between these times. Looking back their were signs that adults could have picked up on but for whatever reasons missed.

When Kate was 15 years old the ordered chaos in her mind descended into complete terror and panic. Here she was…a student at senior school…who thought she was expecting her brother’s baby. The torment was too much and after several weeks of silent hell, Kate told. The secret that she had carried since she was 8 years old was written on a piece of paper and handed to her English teacher. Until then Kate had no idea what the words ‘sexual abuse’ was, she did not know about ‘child protection and ‘social services’. The following morning she knew what all those phrases and people were about.

Her Head Teacher sent her to the local baby clinic in her school uniform for a pregnancy test. The mothers with their babies, the women with their judging looks…a silly school girl who made a mistake. Kate’s fear was thankfully wrong and she was not expecting her brothers child. Kate was placed on the child protection register and her mother chose for her to go into foster care. After 6 months living in foster care Kate was allowed to return home…only for her brother to attempt to abuse her again less than one month into her return. Kate remained at home and her abuser left. The title of this book is the very essence of childhood sexual abuse…it is a tangled web. During the untangling of the web for Kate she learnt that her brother had been sexually assaulted by a family ‘friend’. In the years since Kate has been on a journey to survive what happened to her. To make sense of it, to heal the pain, to ease the nightmares and to rid herself of shame.

Book Extract


Who will believe me, who will listen if I tell?
They cannot understand and I want to hide inside a shell
The thought of a life inside me makes me feel so wild
I could not be a mother to his child
What will happen to me, what will happen to him?
Whichever why I turn it all looks so grim
Surely it’s my fault, my own stupidity
The only person to blame is me
If only they know it wouldn’t be a secret any more
But it is hidden away behind a locked door
I want to ask him why
I want someone to hold me when I cry
I cannot tell, not today
Tomorrow, yes tomorrow I will tell
I wonder if tomorrow really will be the day I
break the silence?

Mothers to be and mothers with babies in their care
Looking at the school girl waiting there
In the place of joy and motherhood
Trying to accept the prospect of a baby, no she never could
All adults but for the girl in that place before her time
Foolish girl so they think, knowing nothing of his crime
& you have probably never felt shame like it in your life
The looks that cut her bleeding heart with an assuming knife
Why was she there in school uniform with the babes and mothers to be?
Her years of abuse, violation and rape they did not see
Still she was so cheap in their eyes
Yet she is just a babe herself for who self respect and dignity dies.

I stood before you
Your daughter



I stood before you

You looked at me and said

I cannot hug you

But you sat and hugged my
abusers shirt instead.

5 reviews for This Tangled Web

  1. christina moore (verified owner)

    This book gives fantastic insight into the minds eye of a survivor and allows you to travel along side of the author , it also evokes strong feeling deep inside you that most survivors have , it also gives you a sense of community and belonging !!
    I felt every word of what Kate Swift nhad written , I was transported back with every word I read !!

  2. christina moore (verified owner)

    The author takes you back to a horrible time in her life , and through various art forms you get a sense you are on a journey with her through her words , several of her poems evoked an emotional response which I had not expected to experience.
    I really felt a deep connection with the author and I am in awe of Kate Swift to have the strength and courage to follow her ambitions and dreams !!!!

  3. Gemma Merrick (verified owner)

    It takes great courage and confidence to express to the world your broken childhood, but by veiwing this book I can say it gives me a lot of confidence to reach out and ask for help, knowing that there is people out there with the same emotionally and mentally heart-breaking experience. I believe this book is remarkable in itself, and when it comes out as an actual book, this is definatly the book to dive into, as it indicates so many matching memories that I have held onto, as a survivor. Thankyou.

  4. kazzie kennedy (verified owner)

    This book is a true testament to one woman’s courage and determination to fight back from the life sentence that is child abuse. This book gives us a deeply intimate look inside the mind and feelings of a child growing through the years and the passage of time just trying to make sense of the life she was forced to live. This book gives us back the belief that we who have grown from abuse can come out the other side of the unspeakable acts of abuse we may have endured to be not only productive but proactive in trying to reach others, in the hope of one day seeing all survivors being able to find their peace and place in their own lives. This book allows us to hold on to that hope which is what all survivors need; This book speaks the truths of one woman whom for so long had no voice. This book in my opinion gives it’s Author; Personal Justice Kate Swift’s This Tangled Web
    Is unique, poignant, honest and an extraordinarily thought provoking collection of work by this amazingly talented woman, whose shares with us, her readers; her quest for salvation of soul, and her journey to find the freedom and liberty others took from her in another lifetime; and for the first time Kate is telling us all; Her and her life matter; Bravo Kate you have done yourself and survivors the world over such a service by sharing your story of survival.
    Kazzie Kennedy

  5. Wendi Brincken (verified owner)

    This book is brilliant and unique. The author’s format is creative and capturing…a format that makes it easy to pick up and put down, which I found to be quite necessary…as this is the most honest true story/personal journey piece of work that I have read yet on this topic. This is truly a tale of the personal journey that takes a victim to a survivor. It is brutally honest and quite provoking and challenges all of the lies that threaten to keep victims holding themselves hostage. This work of art is insightful and not an easy read…the truth is never an easy read… Kudos to Kate Swift for capturing the true essence of survivorship.

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