After being abused by her father from age 4, Jeni developed over 2000 personalities.



Content Warning: This post discusses child abuse and may be triggering to some readers.

Symphony, a four-year-old girl, Ricky, an eight-year-old boy, and Muscles, a motorcycle-loving teenager, are all the same person.

These are the personalities which form part of Jeni Haynes’ “army of strangers”.

They are just three of the 2000 personalities which Jeni, 49, has created for herself as a coping mechanism for the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father, Richard Haynes.

When Jeni testified against her father in February for charges of sexual assault when she was aged between four and 11, Symphony, Ricky and Muscles all attended the court case.

In fact, it was the first court case of its kind in Australia where a person intended to testify with various different personalities.

Jeni has Multiple Personality Disorder, now called Dissociative Identity Disorder, where a person’s identity is fragmented into a number of distinct personality states called ‘alters’.

It is common for those who have this personality disorder to have been severely abused at a young age, like Jeni was, and to have developed multiple personalities as a coping mechanism for the traumatic experience.

Victims design the multiple personalities as a way to disconnect and separate themselves from the situation.

Jeni Haynes father
Jenni Haynes, who has 2000 personalities, will appear on 60 Minutes tonight on Channel Nine. Image: Channel Nine.

When Jeni attended court earlier this year, she explained to Fairfax Media at the time, "It was Symphony who my father suppressed. Jeni was born and my father started to abuse her. An alter was created who came to take dad's abuse so Jeni didn't have to."

"When my father raped Jennifer Haynes he raped Symphony."

Haynes also explained at the time of the court case why Muscles, the protective teenager, was "born".

"Muscles is a 17-year-old, well he's now 18, he was a teenage motorcycle-loving lout," Jeni shared with the publication. "Today if I move my hand Muscles is doing that. He refused to turn 18 because if he turned 18 before dad was arrested he could get a gun licence and shoot him."

In May, Jeni sat down with journalist Liz Hayes on 60 Minutes and opened up about her "army of strangers".

"I didn't know that you're only supposed to have one personality," she said. "I didn’t realise that having lots of voices in your head was abnormal."

You can watch the preview for tonight's episode of 60 Minutes below. Post continues after video.

Video via 60 Minutes

"It's not an act of mental illness or playing silly games, pretending to be other people," Jeni explained. "You are protecting yourself. You are protecting your soul, and that's what I did."

Jeni has been treated by psychiatrist Dr George Blair-West for 20 years, Channel 9 reports, and he explains why some people do develop this disorder.

"(Her) mind is just coming up with an incredibly sophisticated, clever solution to a scenario that most of us could not begin to understand or relate to."

On Friday September 6, Richard Haynes, who pleaded guilty to the charges, was sentenced to 45 years behind bars, with a non-parole period of 33 years.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

For more on this topic:

The truth about dissociative identity disorder, and its relationship to sexual abuse.

'My mum has multiple personalities. This is what my life is like.'

"I live with Dissociative Identity Disorder. This is what a day in my life can look like."