The abuse started when I was 5, my previous step father sneaking into my room in the evening singing and saying how special I was. I was just a kid. I was at the family home until I was eleven, the police came to my school when I was nine because the teachers had noticed some bruising on the inside of my legs when I was getting ready for PE.
The Police came and everything was reported, I still remained there and the abuse carried on, I was assaulted by my mother as well physically. I thought I was a grown up, when the step father was at work my mother would stay in bed, I used to get me and my brother up every morning, get our breakfast and go to school.
When my mother and stepfather were going to separate I said I was going to stay at my mothers that’s when the abuse got worse, I was asked to leave when I was nine so I packed my little rucksack, toothbrush, uniform and some books and went to the library. I was there until they were about to close and the lady said “where are your parents?” I simply explained that I had nowhere to go and my parents had asked me to leave, the lady phoned the police and I was returned back to family home.
The abuse carried on, finally I had enough and mentioned the abuse to my teacher at secondary school I was 11 years old, a social worker came to school and took me back to the family home but my mother and step father attacked the social worker.
Then I was relieved when I was taken to a children’s home but I was worried about who’s going to get my brother up in the morning, I didn’t realise then that the nightmare wasn’t over. I arrived at a children’s home that housed up to fifty children, the staff held my hand and showed me off to all the staff, I didn’t realise that I was actually been paraded.
I was assaulted by numerous residential social workers in the office and in the pantry, that didn’t just happen to me, it happened to quite a lot of others as well.
We were only supposed to be there for twelve weeks but I was there for two years. My friend actually hung himself on a football field because of the abuse, everybody knew what was happening there and the staff always did same when somebody knew come along, they would grab their hand and parade them. We were just pieces of meat.
My friends brother came to children’s home and he challenged the staff about his brother, six members of staff jumped on him they broke his leg and other injuries. The nightmare was real.
I finally opened my mouth again when I was thirteen, I complained that social services never responded but I was moved to another children’s home, that’s what else they did there if ya opened ya mouth they would move the kids or have them arrested, not cos of our safety or wellbeing but because of the huge scale of their exploitation.
When I was moved I started absconding, I was thirteen but I was also on a care order, the staff gave me bus fare and said to return each day, get something to eat etc and you can do whatever ya want.
I didn’t realise I was actually being groomed on the street as well, I was staying at some bedsits, there was drugs, drink and guns, somebody saw me there and they reported that there was a kid at the bedsits, Social Services never reported me missing anyway. The police found me and yet again I was moved to another children’s home when I was fifteen.
I sometimes went missing 6 months at a time.
The children’s home that I moved to when I was fifteen is where I actually settled but I hated myself. I was having nightmares that’s when I started realising what sex was, I was having nightmares and realised I had been raped quite a lot since age five, I thought I was dirty but I know now I was just a kid.
Unfortunately they shut the nice children’s home down when I was sixteen. I got my own flat and went to college then I got pregnant when I was seventeen.
I was determined my child was going to have a good life, when he arrived he was poorly and I took him to the sensor rooms appointment. I loved him very much. He needed an operation when he was eight months old and when he died I broke.
I tried taking my own life a year later I had got used to the mask and didn’t want to speak because I was like what’s point? Every time I open my mouth I get moved. I was very scared.
At nineteen I was told I had ptsd because of all the abuse thankfully I don’t have that anymore. I ended up homeless and I saw a woman being attacked by three Asians, I didn’t have a phone but I still intervened. I threw a brick through their car window. This happened at the cemetery where my son is buried.
I met my daughters father, I was so in love but the nightmare got worse. He assaulted me, broke my ribs, my collarbone, he was horrific. He obviously wasn’t like that at the beginning, he was dealing and used to drive on country roads, he was sent to prison and he tried selling me to his padmate. I thought he was joking but he wasn’t.
His sister was with an Asian as well, we went up to her house and there was a fourteen year old girl there. I left the house and anonymously reported that as well, my ex partner sister was with some of the grooming gang and so was my ex partner he realised that I had reported the incident and he battered me. I couldn’t walk I was in hospital three weeks. I went to a refuge but he followed me to the refuge. I got pregnant again and went to a mother and baby unit when I came out, other parents were approaching me saying how my ex was taking my other daughter to sex and drug party’s, I was mortified. I was like “how have social services been allowing this?”
Four years ago my daughter was interviewed, my ex sister in laws partner had been near my daughter, the social services yet again did nothing, they said to me that I was being emotional.
I said to them “how would you feel if this happened to your daughter?”
Also, when things have been reported in the past some of the services have been saying there’s too many of them, we don’t have enough services, you will have to phone crime stoppers.
When I initially reported the home four years ago nobody got back in touch so I travelled all way to Liverpool and spoke to the truth project, that’s when the police eventually got in touch, as they were pretty much forced to.
A victim was also brutally attacked a few weeks ago and he is absolutely terrified, there was a police officer arrested as well in Halifax a year ago but the ex police officer mate brutally attacked a victim four weeks ago.
This is not everything that’s happened but it has been going on for many years in Halifax and the surrounding areas with very little intervention from the police.
I was on my own as well though, with no family to fight my corner, but even despite all that I have managed to fight back, and I have actually begun to turn my own ‘Pain into Power’, and that’s what drew me towards the Maggie Oliver Foundation as I felt I would be understood and never judged.
I want to mention a few positives. I finally went back into education three years ago to study, to make up for some of the lost time that I missed in school, and I got my NVQ level three. I now help others as well, and I wasn’t given help on a plate, I had to fight my way out, I read law books and went round everywhere and begged and said please help me. Recovery has helped me massively, and now I am really really proud to be accepted as an Ambassador with The Maggie Oliver Foundation myself. I want other survivors like me to know they are not alone, and that although my start in life wasnt easy, I am actually turning my life around. I have found my voice, and I am being heard, and by sharing my story here I want to encourage others like me who began life in the bleakest of places to know there is hope, you can find help, and you can move forward and find a way through the blackness…..
I give permission to share my truth and I will never give up because I am entitled to justice as well.