I lay in his arms, wishing ... desperately trying to shrink away to nothing as his stuff trickled out of me across my thigh, trying to ignore his hand gripping my breast – small and sensitive. It shouldn't be like this. I would not endure this any longer than I had to...
Born Jennifer Warne, I was Jenny from an early age, and somewhere around adolescence insisted on spelling my name with an 'i'. My father died when I was only six months old; he had his front tyre burst while riding his Triumph Bonneville much too fast on the motorway. A large car following too closely behind was unable to stop or he might have survived. It appeared that he'd hit a sharp fragment of broken glass. Loraine, my mother, was devastated but the need to care for me meant that she didn't just sink into depression; instead seeking solace in a small local church.
Much later, I was exploring the loft and found boxes of stuff. Motorbike gear, thermal underclothes ... and letters ... and photographs. My mother, standing next to a tall man wearing leathers, a motorbike behind them. Photographs of the two of them walking at the seaside, or in the Lake District; neatly labelled on the backs, date, place ... names. Wedding photos, the groom young, tall, handsome; the bride, though I didn't know it, looking a little like me, literally blushing in white. The order of service for the funeral. I held the photograph of them looking happy together, gazing at it as my vision blurred and I began to weep.
Mother was warmly welcomed by the people at church, some of whom at least knew her by sight. She was supported by visits and invitations for meals and offers of baby-sitting; and also caught the eyes of one of the elders, a certain Henry Turner.
Henry was a local businessman, with interests all over the country. He was also what some people would call a 'pillar of the church', deeply involved in the organisation and running of the establishment, seen as wholly respectable if perhaps rather puritanical. He courted Loraine with care and courtesy for a year before 'popping the question'.
My mother, lonely, struggling financially, and missing her husband, did not take long to decide to accept his proposal, and they were married soon after. She soon discovered that some of his tastes in their marital relationships did not quite match with the impression he'd given while courting her, running to bondage, domination and sadism. It might have been an enormous problem, had she not discovered a serious submissive streak herself. Even the occasions when he lost his temper over something that was not to his liking; perhaps the house wasn't clean and tidy enough, or a meal not quite right, and he hit her; she just accepted it all and soaked it up. Of course, I didn't know about this until much later, I only started to pick up on what was going on as I got to know children of my own age and saw the way their parents related to each other, and to their children.
My earliest memories are of happiness, of playing on a trike in the garden, of tottering across the lawn into Henry's arms - he doted on me, his stepdaughter. He was, perhaps, stricter than he might have been, though I didn't really know any different, but he was happy for me to enjoy the activities available to the young people in the various youth groups at church. I moved up through the crèche to the three to fives, 'puppies and kittens', the fives to sevens, 'first explorers' and sevens to nines 'young explorers'. In Youth Church, from nine, we were expected to participate in the same worship as adults, which we felt really good about – we were grown up.
As the years passed, his violence towards Loraine escalated and jealousy began to appear more and more overtly. Loraine continued to accept everything he did; indeed she was quite capable of provoking him to jealous rage so that he would, in fact, beat her.
I could not but be aware of the unusual relationship between my mother and stepfather and from time to time I stepped in when I witnessed an argument; I was very effective in defusing his temper. Henry continued to be very affectionate toward me, cuddling and caressing me. What is appropriate, or at least, not inappropriate, between father (or stepfather) and a six, seven, eight year old daughter, begins to push the limits as she gets older. I may not have been aware that his behaviour was passing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour, but I began to feel uncomfortable as I neared puberty. The problem was that his temper, once directed solely toward Loraine, began to rise as I began to try to distance myself a little from him. It became easier to let him have his way, than to provoke an outburst which I was beginning to be unable to manage.
When my body began to develop with puberty I didn't understand, of course, but Naomi, my best friend and companion from church, who was a few months older, helped me out. Now I'm older, I resent the fact I couldn't talk to my mother.
Henry began to take opportunities while Loraine was (for example) at a women's meeting, to fondle me in a much more overtly sexual way. His responses to my protests were such that he genuinely frightened me.
I did, at least, have the youth activities at church to distract me and give me some refuge. I was particularly fond of sailing, both single-handed in Toppers and Lasers, and as a skilled helm in Wayfarers. Naomi could tell that something was not right for me, and when she heard what was happening, tried to persuade me to approach someone in authority. I, though was terrified, both of Henry's temper, and that I would not be believed and be left in the same situation with Henry having a reason to take things out on me.
Not long past my fourteenth birthday, I was left with Henry while Loraine went into hospital for in-patient treatment for a gynaecological problem. The first night she was absent, Henry insisted I share his bed and he took my virginity. He was not brutal about it, but neither was I consenting – I gave in to avoid a beating. It was painful, and not at all pleasurable. He continued to rape me each night Loraine was absent and on her return came to my room each night until Loraine was able to resume intercourse. Even after that, he took frequent opportunities to use me sexually. With time, I began at least to not experience discomfort; however it never really became enjoyable.
My only refuges were the youth groups and school. While Henry could not prevent me attending school, he began to insist I come home directly and became angry if I was only a few minutes late. He put a stop to my attendance at the youth groups shortly after my fifteenth birthday and deprived of that I began to plan an escape.
It wasn't difficult. I had a little money saved, and hid a bag with some clothes in outside one night; then, instead of going to school went to Norwich, took a train to Peterborough (evading ticket collectors, who might remember me) and a train to Huntingdon; I could have gone straight to London but thought I'd break the trail; and ended up at Kings Cross in the late afternoon.
I knew no one, had no-where to go, was tired, lost and lonely ... was this really better than having sex with my step-father? In the toilets I saw an advert for a shelter for young people run by the Children's Society, went there and, at least, had a meal and a dry bed. I struck up a friendship with Lisa, a pretty blonde about my own age, who had been there a couple of days, and was interviewed by one of the staff.
Mrs. Henderson was middle-aged, motherly and considerate. If only I had felt able to confide in her! She tried to persuade me to tell her where I was from and why I'd run away from home ... but I could only shake my head. Neither of us knew that Henry Turner was one of the sponsors of the shelter.
Lisa knew someone who had a flat where we could stay. I had no illusions but that I'd be paying my way 'on my back' as the saying is; but at least I'd be making the choices ... or so I thought. Sandra Beeton was a year or two older that Lisa or me; she welcomed us to a large, well appointed flat; we were impressed. It became apparent rapidly that the flat was owned by Sandra's pimp, and had three large bedrooms with double beds for a reason. Sandra gave us both some advice ... basically to do what we were told (by Jason, or the punters) and at least pretend to enjoy it. It was good advice, as we both found out when Jason Jones sampled us, the new girls. Lisa got a mouthful of abuse for a lack of enthusiasm; I, a grudging approval. At first, it wasn't too bad. The pimp made use of us himself for a few days before effectively ordering us onto the streets.
I made a point of hiding some of the money I earned outside the flat. That, of course, had to be from money earned outside the flat, rather than from punters I took back there. The pimp took everything I earned at the flat, telling me I didn't need money – he'd provide clothes and food. Which he did ... of course the clothes he provided were only appropriate for displaying my body. Not the sort of thing I'd want to wear normally.
He offered us an assortment of drugs. It was very tempting and Lisa was rapidly hooked; I only pretended to take them. After a couple of months, the pimp started to get violent when we were reluctant to accept anal sex; he said we weren't earning enough to pay for our accommodation, food, clothes and drugs. I tried to persuade Lisa to leave with me, but she was trapped in a cycle of dependence; mainly on the drugs, but also emotionally on the pimp.
I took an opportunity offered by one of the punters to escape. Again, I was careful to move my stash of money before going to the address he gave. Everything was tolerable for several months. Then he started pushing; firstly, for anal sex, which I reluctantly agreed to, then he wanted to share me with his friends. What was so different to my previous situation? For the first time, I found myself accommodating three men at once; I decided it was time to move on.