A mother who has covered most of her body in dramatic art work has revealed the tattoos help her to cope with the sexual abuse she experienced as a child.
Melissa Sloan, 45, from Powys, South Wales, whose entire body is shrouded from head to toe with dramatic designs, explained that her tattoos are her way of covering the ’emotional scars’ of horrendous sexual abuse from her paedophile brother.
The mother-of-seven claims that she was sexually abused by her brother, Gavin, 46, from the age of six and has now broken her silence about her years of torment.
Last week, Gavin Sloan was finally jailed for a string of sickening rapes and sexual assaults against other children.
Melissa Sloan, 45, (pictured) from Powys, South Wales, has covered her body in tattoos to blot out the memories of being sexually abused from the age of six
Melissa’s half-brother Gavin Sloan, 46, (pictured) was jailed last week for a string of sickening rapes and sexual assaults against other children
Melissa, who was abused by her brother until age 16, claims her complaints were not taken seriously by police. Pictured: Melissa and Gavin as children
‘My tattoos help me cover the emotional scars that Gavin left behind,’ Melissa said.
‘They’re my mask and I hide from the world behind them. But now that he is finally in jail, I can begin to feel free.’
Melissa claims her complaint was not taken seriously by police and he was never charged with the alleged offences against her.
She was horrified to read a news report last week of Gavin’s recent conviction for child sex offences involving other children.
Melissa said: ‘I am pleased that he is at last behind bars, but I feel angry too that my own complaint wasn’t investigated properly at the time.
‘I’ve suffered all my life because of the abuse. My entire body is covered with tattoos and it’s my way of coping with trauma of my childhood abuse.
‘I try to blot out the memories by covering myself with tattoos.’
Melissa said she is ‘pleased’ that Gavin is now behind bars, but angry that her own claims weren’t investigated properly at the time
Melissa, who is one year younger than her abusive brother, grew up in Kidderminster with their mother, Doris, Gavin and two other siblings
Melissa said her mother brushed it off when she told her that Gavin had touched her down below in the bath at age six
Melissa and Gavin grew up in Kidderminster with their mother, Doris, and two other siblings. Melissa is one year younger than Gavin.
She said: ‘Gavin and I have the same mother but different fathers, but we were raised as brother and sister. As tots we shared a bath together, as siblings do.
‘But when I was six, and he was seven, Gavin touched me down below in the bath. I told my mum but we were both small children and she brushed it off. She didn’t really believe me.
Melissa said the abuse from Gavin got worse in her teens and he would take every chance he could to grope her
‘But it carried on and it got worse when I was in my teens. Gavin and I shared a bedroom, and he took every chance he could to grope me, and he tried to make me perform sexual acts on him. He drilled a small hole in the bathroom door to spy on me.
‘I grew up thinking it was normal. He told me it was fine because he was my half-brother.
‘I tried to fight back against him, but he was stronger and very aggressive towards me.
‘He called me sexual names and made inappropriate comments. I saw him kill birds and small animals and I was very frightened of him.’
Melissa said she was ‘very frightened’ of Gavin, who she saw kill birds and small animals
Melissa said Gavin was ‘very aggressive’, would call her sexual names and made inappropriate comments until she left home aged 16
The abuse continued until Melissa left home aged 16.
She said: ‘I couldn’t take it any longer and I ran away from home and slept on the streets for a short time. I was very troubled.’
Melissa eventually turned her life around.
She got her first tattoo, aged 20, and has since covered most of her body with different designs.
She currently gets one or two new tattoos a week.
The mother-of-seven, who has been getting tattoos since age 20, revealed she now gets at least one new piece of artwork a week
Melissa said: ‘I found the tattoos very therapeutic; a way of blocking out the past and also the abuse.
‘Gavin got in touch again and even as an adult, the suggestive comments continued. He just didn’t seem to see that it was wrong.
‘When I was 35, I made a complaint to the police, because I was worried that he would do it someone else.
‘I was interviewed, but that was it. Nothing came of it, and I went away thinking that I had left it too long.’
Having lost contact with Gavin, Melissa admits she was stunned to read that he has been jailed for raping and sexually assaulting other children
Melissa has since lost touch with her brother but last week was appalled to read on a news site that he has been jailed for raping and sexually assaulting children.
She said: ‘I was stunned. I’d no idea about the case at all until I read about it online. I am relieved that he is locked up but, in many ways, I feel frustrated that it didn’t happen sooner. If my complaint had been taken seriously, perhaps these poor children could have been spared.
‘It’s a horrible thought and I torture myself with that.’
Her brother, 46, pleaded guilty at Shrewsbury Crown Court to the rape of a child, possessing indecent images of children and sexual assaults against children.
Melissa said she’s frustrated Gavin wasn’t locked up sooner and if her complaints had been taken seriously maybe the other children would’ve been spared
In a case described as ‘harrowing’ by police, Sloan pleaded guilty to more than 30 offences and was jailed for 21 years. Two female accomplices were also sentenced earlier this month for their part in his sick crimes.
Louise Smith, 42, was jailed for 11 years after pleading guilty to 12 counts of sexual activity in the presence of a child and causing a child to commit a sexual act.
Jenna Ball, 37, received a two-year suspended sentence after admitting three counts of arranging child sex offences, causing a child to commit a sexual act and possession of indecent images.
Sloan was arrested in May 2021 after officers from West Mercia Police carried out a warrant at his home address. The warrant was granted as it was believed he may have been in possession of indecent images of children.
Melissa said she ‘tortures’ herself at the thought of the other children’s sexual assaults possibly being avoided if Gavin was jailed sooner
Detective Inspector Jo Delahay said Gavin is a ‘highly dangerous individual who preyed on young and vulnerable victims’. Pictured: Melissa and Gavin as children
Following searches of his home, officers discovered numerous videos containing indecent images of children, including a video of Sloan himself sexually assaulting a young child. The images had been taken between 2013 and 2021.
The discovery led officers to arrest and later charge Smith and Ball.
Detective Inspector Jo Delahay said: ‘This investigation has been one of the most harrowing for all involved and we welcome the sentence that has been handed to Sloan. We also welcome the sentences handed to Ball and Smith for their part in assisting Sloan.
‘He is a highly dangerous individual who preyed on young and vulnerable victims, and it is incomprehensible that he would commit such crimes against children and young people. Our thoughts remain with the victims and those close to them.’