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Tears came to my eyes as I read the story of what other survivors have gone through and it brought back all the really painful memories which I have tried so hard to forget over the years. I first of all just want to say thank you for supporting all these young females and for being the voice for them as I never had anyone do that for me…….

I would be grateful if you could hear my story and please give me some help on how I could make my future better.

I don’t mind you sharing my story as it would make me feel better to know that people who are going through the same as me, will be able to read it and maybe speak out and know that there are people here who will help and support them, and understand what they are going through.

I do have one request though….. Could you please not mention where I am from or who I am as I was referred to the honour base team and due to any harm that could come to me they have told me to not allow my location or my name to go out. A few people in my family and people from my community aren’t as understanding and don’t realise that we live in a generation where justice can be given if we share our story and they see it as shame and disrespect.

If my story gets into the wrong hands it could put me into a lot of danger hence why it took me so many years to finally stand up and go to the police.

I am a 21 year old Muslim female. I grew up in a broken family where my mum was a single parent and my dad did not care about us. We struggled a lot growing up as we barely had enough money for new clothes and sometimes nothing on the table to eat. My mum was always trying to find ways to support us and along the way made a lot of bad friends.

My journey began when I was about 9 years old. My mum had this friend who would babysit myself and my younger brother. We absolutely adored him as he was was the best uncle at the time. He would give mum money and bring us food and also look after us whenever mum needed a baby sitter. But one day everything changed. It all started from touching my leg whilst we were in the car and then led to kissing me on my lips. I never understood why it was happening and he always told me that when someone loves you this is what they do.

My brother was a bit of a trouble maker so my mum was always focused on me. She would get angry at me a lot and always said I was the eldest so I would need to be good and set an example for my brother. One day I told my mum that our babysitter was kissing me on my lips and that I felt uncomfortable. She didn’t believe me at first but then confronted him. He said that I was over exaggerating and that he only kissed me on the forehead ( in our culture that was normal as forehead kisses on a child is just a form of love and something like that) at least that’s what he said. My mum told me not to be worried and she told him to not do it again. She then explained how he meant it in the way that a father kisses their child when they say good bye or goodnight. But I never knew that as my dad was barely around.

It had stopped for while and I began to get close with him again, until I started high school. I would walk to school and back everyday for the first few months until it started getting dark really quickly. He then offered to drop me to school in the mornings and pick me up after school. My heart wasn’t in it and I refused but my mum said yes. I guess it’s because she wanted me to be safe.

Me and my mum weren’t really close as I used to spend only school days with her and then on weekends or holidays I would stay at my nans. I loved it there. One day on the way to school he gave me money and said to buy sweets and stuff with it. Innocently I took it because which kid wouldn’t? That was when he kissed me on my lips again but it was for a long time. I can still remember his hands touching my legs and my breast as he had one hand behind my neck. I can still feel his tongue in my mouth whilst I struggled to breathe.

Luckily for me my mum had finally given me a phone that year and one of my school friends called to ask where I was. I ran out so fast and cried in the toilets. But I stayed quiet because I didn’t know who to trust. I was so frightened. This carried on for a few months until the start of year 8 when we finally moved up the road from my school. I was so happy that I wouldn’t have to go with him again and that I could walk. Then he started bringing food to the house like home made food or take away and sweets, mum would send me out to get it as I was older and she thought I had a closer bond with him. My brother never liked him and always stayed away since the first time we met him so I knew my brother was safe no matter what.

One night it was raining and my mum was ill so she asked him if he could drop some food off before he went. I remember he brought a chicken special pizza that night and it was raining really badly. When I went down to the car he made me get in because my clothes and face were so wet. When I got in he started putting my hair behind my ear and told me how pretty I looked and that he loved me so much cause I was his special princess. He then said that he wanted to share a secret with me and he started to kiss my face, my forehead, my cheeks, my lips and then he started putting his hand under my top and in between my legs and in my trousers.

I froze, I completely froze and I didn’t know what to do. I could feel the tears going down my face but I was frozen like a statue and my back shivered. It felt like I was there for hours and just before I got out the car he grabbed my hand and told me that if I ever told anyone he would kill my mum and brother and then torture me.

I was so scared. I remember going home and going straight to my room. I didn’t eat or talk to anyone and I cried my self to sleep for a whole week. Randomly he would call me during the week and drop me to school even though I lived 5 minutes away and he would give me money and then kiss me and touch me.

Then one day I had an exam and I was so stressed about it. I used to be in the top set for all my subjects and my grades were always great but french was my worst class as I struggled with English due to my dyslexia. So I was really stressed. I remember leaving my house at 7am to go to a revision class but when I got to school they said the revision and exam would be tomorrow. I started having a panic attack so I left the building and went out side. I became a smoker when I was in year 8 as it helped me to focus on other things and think about being a normal teenager doing teenage things. But that’s when I saw him drive past. I started running but he caught up and told me to get in the car. I was scared and not using my brains I got in.

He took me to a car park in a park where no one would be that early in the morning and started taking my blazer off and kissing me and touching me and I froze again. This time I couldn’t breathe and he started unbuttoning my trousers. Just as he went to take my underwear off I managed to get the strength to kick him back and slap him. I got out the car and pulled my trousers up as I ran. I ran so fast and so far I didn’t even think about where I was going.

I finally stopped in a park, which was a 2 hours walk away from where I lived but I sat there and I had cuts on my arms and legs and I didn’t know what to do.

My mum, family, friends and their families, the school were all looking for me and finally my friends mum found me and called my mum. I was kicking and screaming and fighting saying I didn’t want to go because I had lost all trust in my mum. She never listened or paid attention to me and she never protected me when I needed her.

But they took me home anyway. My mum cried and asked me what had happened and that I had been missing from 7.30am until 8pm at night and everyone was worried. I had just sat on my own in the park all day, in a complete state of shock. My mum received calls from the family and they made up stories that I was planning to run away or that I was pregnant and stuff like that and my mum shouted at me. I got scared and decided I wasn’t going to speak or tell anyone anything. I was going to keep it all to myself, as I just felt judged and blamed and alone.

I stayed away from school for a full week, but when I went back I got put into seclusion (isolation). I wasn’t allowed to go to lessons with everyone else I wasn’t allowed to have lunch at the same time as my friends and I had to leave school 30 mins after everyone else. I was being punished for missing school. Judged as a bad kid, blamed for letting my family down. The school never really paid any attention to me, never noticed how aggressive I was becoming and never questioned why my grades were going down.

I lost my friends and was getting bullied too. Eventually The family moved so I moved school. By this time I had officially been labelled as ‘a rebel’, a bad kid, (another statistic) and I started taking drugs, drinking alcohol, craving attention from boys, trying to hide from the world I was in and all the pain inside me. I did it to run away from my past, to hide from the world I was trapped in.

Then ‘he’ came back into my life again as he moved around the corner to us. I started avoiding him. I stopped coming home early and then eventually I left home and moved in with my Nan. That was the last time I saw him but the abuse wasn’t over.

Because of my culture, my background, my community and the fear that aim would bring ‘shame’ on them,  I had been isolated from the outside world by my family. I wasn’t allowed friends, a phone, I wasn’t allowed to study or work or drive but I fought back and I managed to get all these things back and my life started getting better.

I fell in love and forgot about my past until one day my phone was taken off me and I was beaten exactly the same way as young Ellie in Barrow was. I was cut with a knife, I was beaten with hockey sticks and golf sticks and baseball bats and cricket bats and hit with a shoe and kicked in between my legs and in my stomach and face and punched all over. I was so battered and bruised that I couldn’t even recognise my self or move or sit or eat or drink or even breathe properly. I wasn’t allowed to go to the hospital or call for help. I had no access to a phone and I couldn’t call my mum for help. I was locked in a room and was given a mattress on the floor. Some days I wasn’t given food and I forgot what it was like to see another human being or to feel the breeze on my face. It took me 3 months to recover and then finally I managed to escape, to get out and come back home to my mum.

Things aren’t great. I’ve been here for a few months now, I still have nightmares and I struggle to sleep. I eventually opened up to my mum a month after moving back and I told her the whole story (everything I’ve wrote in this email) and she didn’t react. She cried but she didn’t say anything. The next day she acted like I hadn’t told her anything so I thought I’d give her some space.

Then a while after I started getting counselling.  I found the strength to go and speak to my doctor who was luckily quite supportive and told me I suffered from depression and anxiety and panic attacks and gave me medicine.

I told my doctor and my counsellor this story and they told me to go to the police when I was ready as it was the only way to get closure. My counsellor was amazing and she helped me a bit. But she told me that my case was a long term one and that it may take years for me to finally be better. I stopped seeing her after 2 months as she only worked with under 18’s and I became too old to be allowed to see her.  My doctor referred me to the Local well being team which was the next level of counselling.

During these years and this time I have tried to commit suicide more than 10 times but I guess it never worked. I finally decided that I wanted to get better and to live my life and I went to the hospital to seek help.

They took my statement and I never heard from them again so I gave up. Then I told one of my close friends my story and he told me that if I can get closure by getting justice that I should go to the police. I have told my story to 4 different police officers. Twice in my home and twice during interviews. My last interview was several months ago now and the last thing the officer told me was that I would have to come back and speak with people at a higher level during a recorded interview. It has now been more than 4 months and I haven’t even heard back from them. That makes this seem so much worse, as  though I don’t matter and what happened to me isn’t important. I had to really build up courage to talk about what happened, but now I wish I hadn’t. It just wasn’t worth it.

I have arguments with my mum everyday and I have isolated myself from everyone. I don’t trust any of my family and I have so much hate for these people who have hurt me and also for my mum. I know that sounds bad but my whole life my mum has not acknowledged me. She never protected me, she never let me become anything, she took my dreams away from me and crushed them and she hasn’t really been supportive with me telling my story to the police as she is worried about hers and her families honour and what people will say.

Please help me find closure and give me advice on how I can start to get better…….