I was the envy of all the girls at school. I had a boyfriend who met me at the school gates in a flash car. I got presents of perfume and clothes. I was also the first to go ‘all the way’.
I was 14 and Chris was 30. He told me I drove him crazy and he loved me. He said if I loved him too then I would sleep with him. It wasn’t long before he was picking me up from my house and taking me back to his flat. We’d just hang out, listen to music, smoke and have sex.
I was happy, or at least I thought I was, until he started inviting his friends over too and letting them touch me and have sex with me. I didn’t know what to do.
Before long Chris was picking me up in the morning and driving me to flats all over the place, introducing me to men as old as 65. Some of them were on drugs and they hurt me. I tried not to struggle or cry as that only seemed to excite them more.
I knew it was wrong. I did try to make it stop. When I told Chris I didn’t want to he hit me. I even ended up in A&E once. He was clever, he never left my side and I didn’t get chance to tell the hospital staff. He didn’t always use his fists to hurt me. He threatened to send my parents the videos he’d recorded of me in action and said he’d introduce his friends to my little sister too.
I was trapped but I couldn’t let him hurt my parents or worse still my sister, so I let the abuse carry on for four years.
It was on my 18th birthday that something inside me broke and I packed a bag with some clothes, make-up and the stuffed rabbit my dad gave me when I was a baby and made my way to London. I didn’t tell Chris or my parents.
I slept rough for three nights before being picked up by a homeless charity and taken into a shelter where I opened up and told my story.
I’m still scared of what Chris could do to me and my family to the point that I haven’t been able to return home. I keep in touch by telephone when I can.
Chris didn’t just destroy my life. My parents are devastated. They had no idea that this kind of thing went on in the UK, let alone under their noses.