Serenity Rose used to stroll at night through the sleepy neighbourhoods near her house. The small town outside of London was dark, tranquil, and away from her nasty stepdad.
She said to MyLondon that her home was a very hostile and frightening place, which caused her to develop a number of, likely harmful, coping methods. I used to go out late at night, for one. I would either run or just ramble around.
At first, Serenity was unaware that she was being observed. She was being followed by a bunch of young men in cars. They observed my pattern of movement since they attempted to talk to me or invite me to get in the car for a trip on several times when they stopped me.
Serenity never wanted to get in the automobile, even though she didn’t feel frightened by the gang. She eventually gave in, though, and said, “Yeah, I’ll get in and I’ll go for a drive with you,” one evening after a particularly trying day at home.
With the males who helped the 14-year-old feel more mature over time, Serenity formed a “relationship” with them. “While driving, we would play music. Having access to diverse locations outside of where I was living provided me a feeling of independence. Physically and emotionally, the distance felt fantastic, the speaker continued.
The males started giving her things that weren’t legal for her. They eventually began to give me marijuana and alcohol. I tried smoking pot a few times and detested it, so I never actually did it. I did drink, which greatly increased my vulnerability.
The maltreatment at home, rather than the booze, gave the males control over Serenity. She said, “I felt insecure staying in my house, and because of that, they got access. Why would a 14-year-old just be strolling around outside on her own? I’m sure they were aware that something was wrong at home.
The men would frequently request that she go on their drives with their female friends. Serenity had always declined, but one day she made up her mind to bring a college student. They had been supplying her with alcohol and narcotics for several years at this point, but nothing bad had occurred. It ended up being a terrible oversight.
“They drove us out to the middle of the woods in Epping Forest and that’s where the first instance of sexual abuse occurred,” Serenity said. After it happened she tried to distance herself from the men but found she had nowhere to go.
“I couldn’t remain in my home, but at the same time, like I couldn’t remain out with them because of what was going on. I felt at the time like it was my responsibility, I had chosen to do it,” she continued. “A bond was already formed with them and I was in this kind of friendship group. I felt embarrassed and ashamed.
“It actually took quite a long time before any abuse happened. They obviously invested a lot in the grooming stages, to ensure that I felt part of a friendship group.”
“There was this net of control placed over me,” Serenity added, “They’d say things to you like; ‘if you don’t do like, five shifts of 12 hours a week, you can’t work.’ They didn’t let us leave the building at all. There were all of these like punitive policies in place and a culture of coercion.
“Over time, it erodes your freedom of choice, you feel stuck and can’t get out. Trafficking rings operated within those establishments. We’d have pimps waiting outside to pick up girls, they would regularly come in and try and obtain information, from me or anyone else. You’d be taken to other locations by them.”