Name changed to protect identity.
“My dad was a violent man when I was younger, so the abuse started when I was a baby. I was malnourished when I was a kid, my mum and dad would sit on the sofa eating steak whilst me and my brother were eating pizza crust from two days ago.”
I was four when my brother started sexually abusing me, he was seven. It started when my mum got us a babysitter who turned out to be a prostitute. She was bringing punters back to our house and this is where my brother learnt that behaviour.
My brother went to live with my nan and my mum ran away to Lincolnshire where she met a man, on their return we all went to live in Maltby. Three weeks later I was raped when I was walking back from a friends and cut through a graveyard, I wasn’t even nine years old at the time. There was no conviction.
I went into care when I was nine, my mum didn’t even tell me I was going into care, she said I was going on holiday for a couple of weeks. I wasn’t the easiest kid. I never knew why I went into care; I always thought it was because of something I had done wrong, but recently I found out it was because my stepdad was abusing his other daughter. My mum had to choose between me and him. She chose him.
I got on drugs at an incredibly early age, I was about 10. I started injecting heroin a couple of years later when I was a ‘working girl’. The first time I did crack I was at a man's house, I told him I had a headache, and he gave me a pipe of crack and told me if I smoked it the headache would go away. It was the same man who gave me heroin a couple of weeks later.
In my teenage years I couldn’t control my temper, I was angry all the time. I decided to hurt people before they could hurt me.
The social services looked after me until I was 18, after that I had no money or housing until they got me a flat. I didn’t know how to look after or run my own home. I wasn’t given any help, no one ever helps. I don’t believe in people anymore, not even myself. Everyone who has promised me they wouldn’t leave has left.
It was only a few weeks ago that I started thinking ‘there’s got to be a better life.’ That came from almost dying and being put in a medically induced coma, that really made me think about things. I’m not talented or skilled, all I’m good at is sucking d*ck and smoking a pipe, or giving people a headache. Sometimes I don’t know if I want to live, some days I do, others I don’t.
People judge me all the time, like when I'm off the drugs and begging, people assume it’s for smack, but it's actually for a hot meal and place to lay my head for the night.
I didn’t choose this life, no one deserves to be treated like a dog. People look down on you because you’re sat on the floor or picking tab ends from an ashtray because you’ve got nowt’.
The people on the streets are the only family I’ve ever known, so it’s hard to leave, but I want to.