One voice (Adam’s diary)

I did get my cr*p together in the end. Hard to believe what happened to me, easier to think that it didnt than admit what I went through. Life is better now, theres some good people out there.

My advice to any boys going through this out there is: shout. Don’t put up with it. 

Ill be honest, its harder for us. Girls talk about stuff all the time but we don’t. And sometimes the people trying to help us get it really wrong. They thought I was in a gang ffs but i guess I put a front on it all the time too so it made it hard for people to see.

But if you get a chance to get help, take it. Even if you don’t get a chance find somebody you can talk to. Whatever they may tell you, you wont be judged you wont be told your scum. You can get your life back. Just coz you think no one cares doesnt mean that’s true. Theres loads of people out there – just wish id known that before.

Want advice?

Friend’s advice for spotting the signs of CSE

I really wish I knew earlier what was happening to Alice. I mean, I saw the signs but I didn’t think anything like this was happen to her. I just thought she was ditching us as she’d found a new group – although they all seemed a lot older. I felt really upset and I remember feeling worried about her but didn’t think to speak to someone. I should have done, maybe all the bad stuff wouldn’t have happened to her.
I never thought something like this would happen to someone I knew, but it did. It’s closer than you think. I found this list of signs to spot really useful; as a friend you are most likely to spot them:
  •  Acting secretively
  •  Having mood swings or changes in behaviour or emotional wellbeing
  •  They’re absent or truant from school or show a lack of interest or sudden poor performance
  •  Going missing or regularly coming home late
  •  Coming home with unexplained or new possessions
  •  Drug or alcohol misuse
  •  Becoming suddenly hostile or estranged from their family or friends
  •  Dramatic changes to their appearance, maybe wearing inappropriate clothing
  •  They’re seen getting into or out of vehicles with unknown adults
  •  They become involved in petty crime such as shoplifting or stealing
  •  They have more than one or share their boyfriend or girlfriend
  •  They become sexually active, pregnant or seeking an abortion or treatment for sexual diseases
  •  They’re getting phone calls and/or text messages from unknown adults
  •  They have unexplained injuries consistent with sexual or physical assault
  •  They self-harm or are having suicidal thoughts or tendencies
  •  They’re behaving inappropriately, being over-familiar with strangers, sending sexual images via the internet or mobile phones
If you are concerned about a friend or someone you know, speak to them. Ask them if they are ok. If you feel you can’t do this speak to someone else, you don’t have to name the person you are concerned about. There are loads of people who can give you advice:
  •  A Friend
  •  Parent / carer
  •  Teacher
  •  Police
  • Support agency such as Childline or Barnardo’s
Your friend, like Alice, might be desperate for someone to help them….someone like you. But remember don’t ever put yourself at risk, ask a trusted adult for help.

Mums advice for picking up the pieces of CSE

Discovering that your child has been sexually exploited is destroying. I would
never want any other family to go through what we have. If you are a parent
and are reading this please make sure you familiarise yourself with the signs.
The signs were there with Alice but I just dismissed it as normal growing up
behaviour.
Help your Child
Most of the time it probably is but not this time. If you notice a
combination of the following signs speak to someone, find out more:
  •  Acting secretively
  •  Having mood swings or changes in behaviour or emotional wellbeing
  •  They’re absent or truant from school or show a lack of interest or sudden poor performance
  •  Going missing or regularly coming home late
  •  Coming home with unexplained or new possessions
  •  Drug or alcohol misuse
  •  Becoming suddenly hostile or estranged from their family or friends
  •  Dramatic changes to their appearance, maybe wearing inappropriate clothing
  •  They’re seen getting into or out of vehicles with unknown adults
  •  They become involved in petty crime such as shoplifting or stealing
  •  They have more than one or share their boyfriend or girlfriend
  •  They become sexually active, pregnant or seeking an abortion or treatment for sexual diseases
  •  They’re getting phone calls and/or text messages from unknown adults
  •  They have unexplained injuries consistent with sexual or physical assault
  •  They self-harm or are having suicidal thoughts or tendencies
  •  They’re behaving inappropriately, being over-familiar with strangers, sending sexual images via the internet or mobile phones
Don’t ever feel ashamed or embarrassed to seek help, it’s your child, you
need to help them. I found these agencies who can offer support:
Make sure you speak to your child about the dangers out there and how to
protect themselves, don’t just expect the schools to give them this guidance.
It was recommended I speak to Alice and my other kids about healthy
relationships.
I wasn’t sure how to start this conversation so found some good
pointers:
  •  Where you respect each other
  •  You feel happy, loved and safe
  •  You are not made to do things that hurt you, make you feel uncomfortable or scared
  •  Your boyfriend / girlfriend should never try to pressure, control or intimidate you
Most importantly listen, offer support and never judge their behaviour or what
they have done, this is what they will be most concerned about. They are a
victim a crime has been committed against them.
You might find you need support to. Make sure you speak to someone, if you
can’t open up to a friend or family member try contacting one of the following:
  • GP
  • Employee support Helpline (if your employer has one)

Alice’s advice for those experiencing CSE

It’s really tough sometimes to decide whether to speak to someone. I felt so alone and like I was the only one this was happening to so why would anyone understand. I thought I would be the one that got into trouble and people would judge me for what had happened.

My CSE Story

But things got so bad I had no choice. I’ve since found out there are loads of people who can offer support but at first just reach out and speak to someone you feel most comfortable with.

It could be:

  •  A Friend/ Parent / carer
  •  Teacher
  •  Police
  •  Support agency like Childline or Barnado’s

Since I started talking about my experience, I’ve realised that the relationship I was in wasn’t healthy. It’s not normal for your boyfriend to make you feel scared, get you to do things you don’t want to.

My so called boyfriend also used to try and control everything I did, who I should speak to, what to wear and made me keep secrets. If you’re reading this, I guess you might be feeling that something isn’t right. The best advice I can give you is: Speak to someone – they won’t judge you but will want to help.

Don’t stay with someone who scares, controls or intimidates you. It’s hard to walk away but it’s not love, you deserve better. Change your phone number so they can’t communicate with you anymore and block them from social media.

 If you are going anywhere, go with friends or a parent / carer and avoidplaces you know they hang out. Things will get better, take each day at a time. Make sure you get help from others and don’t suffer alone…

Alice x

 

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