Soon after my 13th birthday, a friend and I went one Saturday to a shopping centre in the nearest town. None of us had what you’d call a boyfriend then. During this trip, a couple of Asian lads called Niv and Jay starting talking to us. They were friendly and good-looking but a few years older than us.
We started to go into town by bus to meet them on Saturdays, then on some weekday evenings too. My parents worked until late and I had more freedom to stay out. I found it easy to tell lies to my parents about where I was going and at this stage I didn’t know they were bad people.
They introduced us to older men, one of them being Tarik. I liked his confidence and the fact that the others seem to look up to him. For a while, Tarik was nice, and would give me rides in his car, gifts, drinks and cigarettes. He encouraged me to try drugs, telling me I was old enough. Then suddenly he changed.
One night, after we’d been out drinking, Tarik dragged me into an alley and raped me. I was so confused by what had happened and terrified by his threats that I let him sell me on for sex with other men. I never thought of myself as a prostitute, but looking back, that’s exactly what I was. It is only now that I can see that, much as I wanted to believe Tarik had feelings for me, he didn’t. He just wanted to make money out of me.
I wanted it to stop, of course I did, but I believed that there was no one I could tell. The gang had convinced me that they were the only people I had and they said that if I ever told anybody about what was happening they would firebomb my house or rape my mother and make me watch.
In the end, my mum found out. I’d left my mobile phone on the kitchen table. It rang and my mum picked it up. The man’s voice on the other end disturbed her, so she checked my messages. Knowing something was wrong, my parents sat me down and asked what was going on, and it all came out.
The police were called, statements taken and Tarik was arrested. He denied everything but the police didn’t believe him. I can’t say I hate Tarik. If anything, I pity him. I feel like he’ll never do well in life. He’ll always be an evil person.