A woman who was sexually assaulted by a driving instructor as a teenager has expressed her devastation that he has been released from prison after serving only half of his eight-year sentence. Chenine Woods, now a single mother of two, was 17 years old when Frank Barham subjected her to a series of degrading attacks over a six-month period. Despite the assaults occurring 20 years ago, Woods still feels threatened by Barham and fears bumping into him, as she lives just a short distance away from him.
The trauma of the abuse and the subsequent release of her abuser have had a deep and lasting impact on Woods. She describes feeling like a defenseless teenager, experiencing flashbacks and moments of panic. While she acknowledges that the government plans to keep criminals in prison for longer, she believes that a four-year sentence is inadequate for the harm he caused, not only to her but to other victims as well.
Woods bravely decided to speak out and share her story, despite the challenges she has faced. She was adopted at a young age and was studying for her A-levels when her adoptive parents gifted her driving lessons. Barham was recommended to her as an instructor, but Woods quickly became a victim of his manipulative and predatory behavior. He started with inappropriate comments and unwanted physical contact, escalating to serious sexual assaults.
For years, Woods suffered the psychological and emotional consequences of the abuse. She struggled with mental health, self-harm, and a distorted self-image. Despite reporting the abuse to the police on multiple occasions, she was initially told there was insufficient evidence to charge Barham. However, in 2017, she was contacted by the police, who informed her of other complaints against him. Finally, in November 2019, Barham was convicted, with the court recognizing the severity of the abuse Woods endured.
While Woods has made positive changes in her life and found strength in being a mother, the release of her abuser has brought back traumatic memories and feelings of vulnerability. She hopes for longer prison sentences for criminals like Barham and urges society to take sexual assault more seriously.
- What happened to Chenine Woods?
Chenine Woods was sexually assaulted by her driving instructor, Frank Barham, as a teenager. She endured a series of degrading attacks over a six-month period.
- How has the release of Barham affected Woods?
Woods is devastated that Barham has been released from prison after serving only half of his eight-year sentence. She still feels threatened and fears bumping into him.
- Did Chenine report the abuse?
Yes, Chenine reported the abuse to the police in 2006 and 2012 but was initially told there was insufficient evidence to charge Barham. However, in 2017, she was contacted by the police and asked to testify.
- How has the abuse affected Chenine’s life?
The abuse had a profound impact on Chenine’s life. She experienced mental health problems, self-harm, and a distorted self-image. It took years for her to regain her self-worth.
- What does Chenine hope for?
Chenine hopes for longer prison sentences for criminals like Barham and urges society to take sexual assault more seriously.