International Women’s Day 2020 – blog on a survivor of sexual abuse
One of our members attended a workshop with a survivor of sexual abuse in Rotherham. Here is her account
Presentation by Sammy Woodhouse – Survivor of the Rotherham Child Sex Exploitation Scandal
Sammy presented a very moving account of what had happened to her after she met her abuser. It was tough to listen to what had happened to this bright and articulate woman after she met ‘Ash’ at the age of 12. She related how she had come from a loving family and had support from her parents, despite running away constantly and becoming pregnant at 14. He parents tried to get the Police and social services involved. However, she was by then completely controlled by her abuser. He had forced her to commit armed robberies, so Sammy would not cooperate because she would have a criminal record.
Sammy’s father found her diary and showed it to the Police. The diary and statements got ‘lost’ and her father was told he would get arrested if he persisted! Sammy was taken out of Rotherham and put into care. ‘Ash’ followed her. The Police stopped them on numerous occasions but did nothing – some Police were even corrupt and passed information to ‘Ash’ who was a very successful and rich drug dealer. Ash eventually went to prison for a stabbing. Sammy tried to leave ‘Ash’ but he threatened to kill her and her son and she tried to commit suicide on several occasions.
The family moved house and Sammy went into hiding. As a single parent she had to earn money. With no qualifications she went into glamour modelling and lap dancing.
Eventually she saw some headlines about abuse in Rotherham and her sister persuaded her to come forward. However, she knew that the police officer who interviewed her was corrupt. So she recorded her interview on her phone and took this evidence to the press.
Now she has turned to campaigning, in particular she wants children forced to commit crimes by abusers to be free of criminal records. She also wants the lives of ‘Lap dancers’ to be looked at more closely, after her own experience of this ‘profession’.
There are many more harrowing details to Sammy’s life that have not been written about here but this brave woman is doing all in her power to try to prevent children suffering the kind of abuse she has suffered. There is much to learn from her story.