Freedom… But was it really freedom. I had escaped from home and I was never going back. Having spent six years being abused I thought was finally free. I inhaled the fresh air and just carried on walking I was 12 years old. Well I didn’t really run away but I was with a girl I had met. I went to her home and her family gave me food and nice new knickers, I mentioned the knickers because for me anything or any act of kindness always remained with me. As there were no joy in my life simple things others took for granted meant the world to me. I lied to the family and told them my family were away. As I got older I realised her father didn’t believe me. The next day I was woken early and the father brought me back home. I knew I would be beaten and I prepared myself. Looking back I deserved it, especially as. I had not returned home but it was because I was so unhappy I wanted to escape. I also lost another somebody as her dad warned her to stay away from me.
A few months later at 13 yrs I week after my 13th birthday, I was gone again this time I was gone for longer around three months. The police wasn’t as interested in those days. I survived by sleeping in the rubbish bins in the high-rise flats. I must have looked and smelt terrible as I recall I didn’t take anything with me and I certainly had no money. I recall sleeping under the beds at friends houses whilst they pushed food under the bed to me. Fed Like an animal. But it was my fault. I guess as I had left home. But in my mind I was at peace. No beatings, no bibles, but I remember that I felt alone.
After three months of living on the street, I saw a girl from church who invited me to their house but I didn’t know it was a plan. When I arrived the lady I now called mum was there. I was held down and most of my clothes was taken off including my shoes. I was humiliated in front of the father, mother and the children two teenage boys and older and younger siblings. She left my bra on, but as she beat me my breasts were exposed. I was so ashamed. I was beaten severely to a point where I could hardly see out of one eye and my lips had been damaged and swollen. I vowed that I would be gone forever. At this point I didn’t care if I was dead. In the night I was told to sleep with the children I had no shoes and no clothes. I asked the other children how could I escape. I missed my father. He would never let anyone hurt me. By now the memories of my older siblings in Jamaica were gone. There was no one in my life to keep these memories alive.
Each child gave me some of their clothing and through the night I planned my escape. The eldest girl called Gina said to me. “Our father leaves for work at 0500hrs and very soon after, “mummy will lock back the front door” I knew that was my only chance as my mum would be back that evening, she thought I was safely tucked away. However, she didn’t contemplate that other children don’t often like to see other children suffer. I stayed awake and I waited for 5am and for the door to open. I waited at the stairs as the father opened the door to go to work; my heart was pumping and the adrenaline was kicking in, my stomach was hurting and my legs were trembling. I stood at the top of the stairs I recall there was 13 steps. I waited for the moment that door closed. It was timed to precision as I knew I had seconds to escape. I could hear rustling in the room downstairs that was very near to the front door. It was three bedroom semi-detached house and the parents had occupied the living room so the distance between the two doors were very short. By the time I reached the fourth stairs it started to creak.
Gina who stayed awake with me told me to be careful. I’m not sure if it was because she knew she would get in trouble as the older child. But at that point I heard her mother say “who is that”. I literally flew down the stairs and towards the front door, I was trembling like a leaf and I dashed through the door before she could blink. I ran and ran and ran I didn’t stop until I reached the top of the road. I recall as I sat on the wall on the main road I saw one of my mothers friend, She must have been leaving for work she asked where I was going so early in the morning. I cannot recall the excuse I gave but it must have been good as I ran off. Many years later I always wondered how I must have looked especially as nothing I was wearing were mine.
I continued living on the streets stealing food and drinks to survive, as I had no family or friends so no one came looking for me. Eventually I met up with some young people there was a group of ten of which four of us were girls. They had occupied an empty property and were squatting. I was the youngest of all everyone else was 16 and above. The men were abusive and I had to cook and clean and keep the home or we would be beaten. Eventually I was attacked by an older guy he was 20yrs old. I recall the searing pain between my legs but I couldn’t cry, he held me down and then invited a friend to do the same. Although when the Friend that came, I can recall his name being Marcus, he sat on the end of the bed and I waited absolutely terrified of what would happen next. However, he looked at me and said ” that’s a little girl boss”. I remember lying on the bed covered in blood and naked. I asked him if I could use the bathroom but he said no. I peed myself there on the bed as I could not hold it any longer as the two chatted as if I was not in the room. Eventually he said I could go, again I ran and grabbed my clothes and ran down the road.i also wandered how angry he would have been when he realize I had peed his bed. I must say although the people I was staying with were abusive. It still felt better than being at home. I was raped twice after that in the same house. I was held a prisoner unable to leave. I then decided to play the game and formed a so called relationship with one of the men. One day, I was told to buy potatoes and I used a 2p coin, to call the police and send them to the address. I thought the police would save me but I was scared if they found out it was me.
That evening six or more police officers raided the house, we all had to leave as we were squatters. All the girls said they were pregnant although I didn’t have a clue what it actually entailed that meant I heard the police saying they were pregnant on the radio, it sounded like something good to say and so I said the same thing. I changed my date of birth which made me 16 that year. We were taken to the hospital but I ran away that was my escape. Later I found out I was pregnant. Naturally being a squatter we applied to the council for a home. They found out my age, social services was called, I was beaten by the father and pushed down the stairs, I was sad hurt and alone. I was put in care as I still refused to go home. I was pregnant, I didn’t have a clue what that meant, I was never told about contraception or how babies were made.