I was taken into 'care' when I was younger. Needless to say, children's homes back then weren't much different than they sound now (think the Oxford case).
I regularly disappeared - I'd not bother telling anyone where I was going, I was hanging around with a much older group, basically trying to be an adult at age 13. Age 13 having been sexually abused for years - hence the reason I ended up in care.
I was drinking, smoking weed, the dance music scene was just getting going (late 80's) and so I was off at illegal raves, not even thinking of telling anyone where I was going.
No-one gave a shit, so what was the point?
I thought I was 'empowered'. I thought I was making 'choices'. What was actually happening, was a series of men were preparing me for sexual activity. The newspapers call it 'grooming' but I hate that term so I won't use it. I'm not a horse, or a dog, having my fur tended to.
I was 14-15, with a 21 year old 'boyfriend'. My incredibly embarrassed social worker took me to the doctor to ensure I was prescribed the pill.
No discussion about STI's, just a concern that I might get pregnant.
No discussion about how a teenage girl who'd been sexually abused could disappear for days on end without anyone being that bothered.
No discussion about why a 21 year old man might want to have a teenage girlfriend.
No discussion about trauma and its implications.
No discussion about the possibility of sexual exploitation.
No discussion about the fact that they knew a 14-15 year old girl was having sex with a 21 year old man.
No discussion full stop.
When I turned 15, my social worker told me that I was to be fostered. Apparently, I was to be 'delighted' about this 'new family' and how they'd help me to 'stop being dysfunctional'.
The foster family were very traditional, and very religious. They were going to 'cure' me.
The 21 year old boyfriend disappeared. He was replaced with a 24 year old. Then a 19 year old. Then a 30 year old.
Within 6 months, my foster mother told me that my 'promiscuity' was a 'problem for the family'. She told me that I was 'getting a reputation'.
She said: 'your behaviour with these men is disgusting. You are disgusting. You open your legs and invite them in like a common trollop. How dare you behave in such a way?'
No discussion about why those men might have wanted a sexual relationship with a traumatised teenager, struggling with the effects of sexual abuse as a child.
No discussion at all.
The placement broke down & ended up in a series of temporary placements until I was old enough to live on my own. I now work with young people who've experienced sexual violence, and I ensure that my work is centred around discussions.
We do NOT give permission for posts published as personal experiences to be reproduced, translated or otherwise published elsewhere. We will not contact people who submit their personal experiences on behalf of journalists, bloggers or other third sector organisations. These testimonies remain the intellectual copyright of their authors and must be treated with the ethical guidelines used by academics for research involving human subjects. Our full guidelines can be read here.
‹ Classism & Roman Polanski Taking action against bullying, resulted in bullying. ›
Comments are currently closed.
What happened to Ameena is a not an abberation or even an ‘isolated case’ because it is systemic and has been happening for decades. Whilst there are some individual Social Service Workers who try to provide real help and real support to disadvantaged female children; they are doing so in contradiction as to how Social Services is supposed to operate. The demonisation of female children has been around for centuries and it happens because male sexual predators must never be held accountable for their choice to sexually prey on female children. ‘Grooming’ is a euphemism which does not describe systemic male sexual predatory behaviour. As Ameena rightly says ‘she is not a dog and that term ‘grooming’ is insulting to all women and girls.
Despite a proliferation of claims made by central government of whatever political persuasion, there continues to be a systemic policy of placing so-called difficult ‘female children’ in pseudo care homes. These pseudo care homes are ideal territory for the innumerable male sexual predators to sexually prey on the female children incarcerated there.
There continues to be a dominant embedded belief within the Social Services system that female children are supposedly responsible for gatekeeping/preventing males from subjecting them to male sexual violence/male sexual exploitation.
Unthinkable by Kris Hollington provides factual evidence that our Social Services; local authorities and central government continue to place disadvantaged female children and young women in pseudo care homes; support services which all demonise the female child/young woman. Read Hollington’s book because he provides evidence that systemic institutional and local authority non-care for disadvantaged female children only ensures one thing and that is a limitless supply of supposedly ‘throw away female children’ for male sexual predators to rape and sexually exploit with impunity. Hollington’s book provides factual evidence of regular excuses/denials from central government and local authorities because as usual ‘lessons have been learned!’ Except they haven’t and they won’t until there is real radical change as to how the Social Services; central government and local authorities operate their policies of supposedly ‘providing real care and support to disadvantaged female children.’
Thank you for your comment – we agree with every word. Some of the EVB team work, or have worked, in child protection and one of the Admin team said ‘I can hear the comment coming out of the foster carers mouth. And not just all those years ago. I can hear it now’.
Girls are made responsible for gatekeeping in many cases, and specifically when in ‘care’.
Thanks for the book recommendation, we’ll look it up.
And thanks to Ameena too – we believe you. We also love how those negative experiences have informed your positive practice. Thank you for sharing this piece with us.