Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

Grace

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Throughout Grace’s childhood her dad was in poor health and her mum was vulnerable. Despite that, she describes her younger self as a typical teenager.

She attended an all-girls school. When she was a young teenager, a man called Kyle drove past her school in his car and offered to take Grace for a drink.

This happened on a regular basis and no one at the school questioned who she was going off with during her lunchtimes. Grace knew that Kyle lived near the school and that he was married, with children who were slightly younger than her.

Kyle would take several girls out in the evening, then drop them off, leaving Grace until last so he could sexually abuse her. She says that she did not realise at the time that what Kyle was doing was wrong because he started off being nice and kind to her and giving her money.

Later, when she tried to say no to him he raped her.

He also made Grace feel guilty by telling her that he had cancer and that he would kill himself if she left him.

When she was 15 years old, Grace became pregnant by Kyle, but she did not tell anyone. When she was four or five months pregnant she was beaten and kicked by Kyle’s drug dealer so badly that she lost the baby.

Kyle put her in a bed and breakfast. He refused to take her to hospital and she never received any medical treatment.

Grace says that her behaviour was bad at school, but no one ever questioned it. She recalls hoping that someone would guess what was going on. She never told her parents as she wanted to protect her mum.

The abuse came to an end when Grace was in her late teens, started to work and got a car. She thinks she was starting to pose a threat to Kyle as she was becoming more independent.

When she was in her early 20s, Grace had some counselling and her counsellor persuaded her to go to the police, but no action was taken. Some time later, after the birth of her children, Grace became involved with social services who suggested she went back to the police.

This time the investigation lasted for six or seven months and Kyle was arrested. Some of Grace’s friends were interviewed along with another girl who had a baby by Kyle, but this girl refused to say anything against him. The Crown Prosecution Service said they could not take the case forward.

Around six months after the investigation, Grace was assaulted again by Kyle’s drug dealer. This happened on two more occasions. The police were involved but as Grace couldn’t give his name the police said they couldn’t take any action.

Grace reflects that police were unhelpful and said that she was uncooperative and reluctant to help. No forensic evidence was taken and the police did not appear to attempt to identify who assaulted her.

Grace would like staff in schools to explore the possible reasons for changes in children’s behaviour and for the criminal justice system to have greater awareness of the effects of trauma and mental health issues.

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