Female Victim, Years 10 - 11, Years 7 - 9

Sophie’s story

Names and other details have been changed to protect victims’ identities.

Summers alright I suppose, but it can get dead boring when you haven’t got any money to do stuff. My mums out of the picture and my dads drunk all the time, Tara and Natalies families aren’t much better. We were hanging out near the shops, like we did pretty much everyday, when Nahid came across to talk to us.

He asked if we were hungry or wanted anything. He was funny and confident, not like the boys at school. His mates seemed nice too, like proper men, they were really generous with cigs and they said they’d drive us anywhere we wanted to go!

We felt real grown up hanging out with them and they said we should come round to their flat for parties, but that we should be careful who we told as it was better just being us and them. Natalie stopped coming, but me and Tara really liked it. We were trying new things, drugs and stuff; it was exciting.

One night things got a bit weird. Tara passed out and they started doing things to her whilst she slept. They kept joking that I should hurry up and pass out too so it’d be my turn. I told Tara what had happened and we said we’d have to be more careful next time we went round.

Things were getting wild, most of the time it was a good laugh, but we sometimes had to have sex with them to keep them onside. They kept giving us stuff and they were a few new blokes at the flat now. I hated the way some of them looked at me and the things they said.

Nahid doesn’t talk to us much anymore. He’s hanging out with some girls I recognise from the year below at school. But we keep going back to the flats, we’re addicted now and it’s the only place I know I will get decent food.

The start of summer feels like ages ago. Tara is on something all the time and she won’t talk about the stuff the blokes keep doing to us; she says that its just something we have to put up with if we want to keep hanging out there. Natalie says we’re a pair of slags and should have seen it coming. I can’t talk to anyone. No one understands. Everything feels dark.

I met a social worker from a charity, Ally, she said I can call her and hang out whenever things get too much. So, I do. She’s been asking how things are and I feel like I can actually talk to her. She gives me food so that I don’t have to ask the guys but it’s really hard to keep away.

Tara is still going over all the time to parties and stuff. I know what’s going on is wrong now but I still go. I can’t get away from that easily. They found out about the ally so they locked me in a flat, I was off my face but they wouldn’t let me out! I was banging on the doors and windows for ages but no one came, and when the guys came back they were just mad at me for making a fuss. I was there for 5 days, Dad didn’t event notice!

Every time I make new friends and tag them in a picture on facebook they started getting messages from Nahid and the guys! It’s not cool. No one can just be my friend. I tell them to block the guys straight away. I know I’m in a bad situation and I can’t drag anyone else in.

I got arrested today. I was out with Nahid and he assaulted someone, nearly killed them right in front of me. He told me I had to join in and I did. It’s like I’m a puppet I know it’s wrong but if he says jump I jump.

I’ve been in this cycle for a whole year now and it’s too much, but I don’t know what to do. I spoke to the Ally again, she understood and spoke to the police. I’m still in trouble but she explained what has been happening to me.

It’s been a proper wake up call. Time to get my shit together. My sister lives in Nottingham and she said I should go stay with her, the police and Ally think it might help to put some distance between myself and the guys. I’ve even been looking at colleges.

It’s taken a while for me to get out of the situation I was in. even after I learnt what was happening and how they were controlling me. I was addicted to the drugs and the parties, everyone there where my friends, the only ones I could talk to and the people beyond that didn’t understand what I was going through.

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