I grew up in the whitest part of Hertfordshire. As a massive, black, intelligent but altogether pretty weird kid, I wasn't unhappy, but I didn't really fit in anywhere. Whilst other girls were off being teenage, flirting and getting fingered in parks, I was mainly eating pizza and watching Cartoon Network. I had no interest in being attractive, because you seldom miss what you've never had. Missing out on those romantic or sexual interactions with boys my own age fostered a naïveté that would be my downfall, something I have carried into my adult years.
Naturally when the internet became a thing, I was drawn to it. Initially, I spent my time downloading song lyrics and custom cursors shaped like penguins. Eventually I ended up using chat rooms which is where I met him.
Without going into too much traumatic detail - at age 15, I found myself in a real world "relationship" with a man who I met on the internet. A man who told me he loved me. A man who, aged 26, was old enough to know better. I can say now what I didn't actually know then. Aged 15 and one month, I was groomed and raped by an internet paedophile.
The “relationship” lasted about three and a half months. We would meet in a multi-story car park. He had a mattress in the back of his van, like a creep in an American horror film. I’ve repressed many of the memories, it makes my skin crawl to recall it - how his body hair scratched against my young skin. How after our second meeting he pressed a £2 coin into the palm of my hand, as if that was all I was worth.