The Girl in the Locker is an inspirational true story about survival.
At three months old Sonia St Claire and her twin sister Sarah were given up by their mother and sent to live in the first of five different orphanages, where they suffered unimaginable abuse for the first fourteen years of their lives. This included sexual violence, sexual slavery and physical violence, as well as such neglect and emotional abuse that the girls were left deeply wounded and traumatised well into their adult lives. Sent back to her mother from the orphanage at fourteen after she came close to death, Sonia was forced to leave school and was quickly thrown into an adult world for which she was totally unprepared.
Confused and alone, Sonia bounced from one destructive relationship to the next as her twin sister suffered in parallel. Sonia's life was a harsh violent and lonely existence and she struggled to forget the past and save herself from the cycle of abuse in which she was engrained.
After reaching rock bottom, incredibly Sonia was able to take control of her life for the first time; she gradually learned to love herself and managed to create a life for herself that was free of abuse. Tragically however, it was too late for her twin.
Told with grace and startling honesty, The Girl in the Locker is a triumph of the human spirit.
Sonia St Claire has overcome great adversity to live her ambition of having a useful and positive life. Today, Sonia is a qualified clinical hypnotherapist, nutritional counsellor, iridologist and Reiki Master. She surrounds herself with positive, supportive people, has forgiven her tormentors, and in that forgiveness found healing and peace.
The Girl in the Locker
Author: Sonia St Claire
Question: What inspired you to tell your story in The Girl in the Locker?
Sonia St Claire: I felt it was time the silence was broken. I didn't want to carry all that weight around any longer. In addition, the abusers of that time need to be accountable at some point in their lives, and that is happening now with the Royal Commission. This allows us to speak up, be heard, and finally be believed. A lot of the perpetrators for many survivors are now being charged, taken to court and going to jail. Most of mine are dead, or in nursing homes in their nineties. Ultimately, my story gives my sister some kind of redemption for the decisions she made regarding her children. They aren't excuses, nor would I pretend to excuse her decisions, they are just the reasons for making those choices. And, it feels so much better that it's all up and out.
Question: How difficult was it to relive certain aspects of your life, when writing The Girl in the Locker?
Sonia St Claire: It was extremely difficult when it came to writing about the sexual abuse. However, the most difficult part was writing about the death of my twin sister. That broke my heart all over again, as we were together since utero. A part of me died that very day. At the time of writing my book, it took all I had to stay alive for my children. I just wanted to be with her.
Question: Why was it important for you to be complete honest in the book?
Sonia St Claire: I am an honest and straight forward person by nature. I didn't see the sense in hiding or holding back any part of the story. To the reader it may appear brutally honest, as it is so egregious for them, but for me, it was normal, it was my life, it was what it was.
Question: What do you hope readers take away from the book?
Sonia St Claire: I hope readers take away from the book, that it is possible to overcome all kinds of trauma in your life, if you allow yourself to. I also hope readers acknowledge that you can use your pain and suffering for good, to somehow give it a meaning, a purpose and untimely used to help others. Finally, I hope it inspires people to do something significant and great in the world, to aspire to their greatest good, not because of what happened to them, but in spite of what happened to them. I have found peace and healing through forgiveness, love and gratitude. If my book can help one person, then it was worth going down a dark memory lane.
Question: How did your childhood inspire your career?
Sonia St Claire: My career was raising my children. That was a full time job for me. My career now is my book, and helping others through my story, to perhaps inspire them to live their own dream, in spite of what they may have been through. I would love to be a motivational speaker, to help others aspire to whatever their heart desires.
Interview by Brooke Hunter