Like many victims of Sexual exploitation Fran and Lorna didn’t recognise that the relationships they were in were exploitative and abusive. This is based on a real case.
Fran and Lorna’s family-life situations meant they’d rather hang with friends away from home making them vulnerable to Luke’s manipulation. He gained their trust and respect so that when things went to the extreme, they had been manipulated so much that they found it hard to recognise that what was happening to them was exploitation and abuse.
01. Me and Lorna always hung out in town, even when it was dead and raining, it was better than being at home and we didn’t have the money to do anything else. We ended up having a little crew. There were 5 or 6 of us that were always kicking around so we started chatting. There was a guy called Luke, we both fancied him and loved it when he was out. He had more money than the rest of us so he bought us food and even drink sometimes.
02. Over summer we were out every night and it was ace, I wasn’t looking forward to school, going back, but we all promised we’d still try and make it out at least once a week.
03. Me and Lorna still went every night and Luke was there every night too, he hated school, so he would skip and get there early! Sometimes it was just me and Luke, cos Lorna’s social worker would show up for meetings after school, sometimes it was just Luke and Lorna. I got well jealous when they were alone together.
04. When half term hit, Luke got dead excited and invited us all to a party! We had a right laugh. Luke kissed me, we all got drunk and ate a tonne of chips! I started staying over a lot and there were parties all the time, Lorna met Mace too so the four of us just hung out all the time. We barely went to school or home any more we just hung out or went to parties.
05. We started having sex like it was no big deal, I tried to play it cool like it wasn’t new to me. I couldn’t let him know I was a virgin. One night Lorna came to find me cos Mace had got rough. She already had bruises. I felt so lucky that Luke wasn’t like that. When I told him about it he was angry and said she deserved it. I didn’t get it!
06. When they had friends around they called us sluts and bitches but we thought it was cool, like in American movies. That night Luke got really drunk and he made me have sex again and again. He refused to use a condom and hit me when I said he was hurting me. I don’t know what made him change.
07. We didn’t know what to do, our friends were all their friends and we wanted to hang out so we kept going to the parties, dealing with the sex was just what we had to do. Sometimes we used other friends to give us a place to stay, we knew how to get what we wanted so they helped us hide out sometimes. Despite all that Luke was still my boyfriend and Lorna was still with Mace. Things started getting really bad, they made us sleep with other men and would threaten us if we didn’t do stuff.
08. One time if got pretty violent and I wouldn’t stop bleeding, Lorna begged them to take us to hospital and they did in the end. The doctors were concerned but I was pretty out of it. Both our social workers showed up, they looked fuming!
09. The Dr told me that I had internal injuries from being raped, but I wasn’t raped he was my boyfriend? They told me I needed an operation to fix it but that there was a risk to my baby! We laughed, thought they were messing
10. When we sobered up the Dr came back and sat us all down to explain again. I really didn’t understand. They said we’d been groomed, which is just a lie, we’re not dumb and rape only happens to people on nights out in big cities and stuff.
11. They kept us there for a while but they couldn’t keep us forever Mace and Luke came to pick us up. I was still in shock about the baby. And the social workers didn’t want us to go. They said we had to have a meeting about everything, I said we could talk about the baby but the rest of it is nothing to do with them.
12. Luke treats me better now I’m pregnant, and I’ve stopped the drink and drugs. The social workers are still on our cases but me and Lorna are fine, this is just life. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t pregnant and me and Lorna had normal families but this is our life.
Sex without consent is rape, regardless of whether or not you are in a relationship, and you should never feel you have to have sex with someone in order to go to a party or hang out. Despite interventions the girls still don’t see where it went from a relationship or a dangerous situation.
Do not ignore the warning signs if you or a friend are at risk of sexual exploitation. See http://notinourcommunity.org/get-help/ to understand the options for help.
Names and other details have been changed to protect victims’ identities.