Essex Children in Care Council – I didn’t know

I didn’t know that if you have lots of friends you are still at risk I didn’t know that if you were the most popular young person in school it could happen to you I didn’t know that my teacher would be able to help me I didn’t know that when my girlfriend sent me a topless selfie and I sent it to a mate that it was breaking the law I didn’t know that a 30 year old chatting up a 13 year old was not illegal (note narrator says was legal) I didn’t know that 17 year olds could still be victims of CSE Things are looking up and I’m finally feeling myself again I didn’t know that boys could be victims too, even straight boys I didn’t know the risks I was taking when I went missing I didn’t know that all the gifts and money they gave me meant they wanted sex I didn’t know that when they topped my phone up they only wanted me to text and call them I didn’t think it was other young people that could be abusers. I always thought it was old men in rain macs I didn’t know who was out there to listen to me I lived in a nice house, in a nice area and had pretty much anything I wanted and could do what I wanted as mum and dad were always working The trouble started when I met Rachel in the park We got chatting and she asked if I wanted to go for a drive with her and her mates as it was a lot cooler than hanging out in the park I thought she was fit and soon she was the most important person and I didn’t realise what she was getting me into Afterwards I didn’t know where to turn. I found it hard to get the courage to speak to my youth worker, it took months but I am glad I did. I have started to feel myself again My mum said I had been acting differently since I started dating my brother’s friend I thought I was being grown up. So what if he didn’t want me to hang around with my friends anymore They were all so childish but soon it got out of control I would just go along with it to keep him I was in an unhealthy relationship but i only really realised this when the police came into school to talk about CSE and explain what an unhealthy relationship is When I was invited to a party I was really excited. They gave me money for a new outfit and picked me up so I didn’t have to catch the bus It was a bit strange when I realised that I was the only girl but they said that they didn’t need any others as I was so beautiful They made me feel so special and let me drink whatever I wanted After that I went to lots of parties. It was fun at the beginning but then I didn’t know that they expected me to pay them back for clothes and drink with sex I can’t remember how many parties I went to because I was so drunk or tried to forget I just thought that I had got myself into this mess so I just had to deal with it When I got pregnant and spoke to my doctor I finally realised this whole time this wasn’t my fault They helped me to get the support I needed to change what was going on I found help when I spoke to my doctor I found help at my youth centre I found help with my school nurse I found help speaking to my carer I found help speaking to a social worker I found help speaking to a teacher I found help speaking to a youth worker I found help speaking to a support worker If you have experienced some of the things we have been talking about in this film or it has made you think about what is going on in your life then you need to know there are people and organisations out there to listen to you and help you Don’t keep your worries to yourself, don’t take the blame and don’t let people control you Talking to someone may help you understand what is going on and how you can move on with your life I didn’t know it could happen to me but now if it does I’ll know what to do

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