By Deirdre Longford
“At one point I was being groomed by up to four people- two men and two women.
They would force me onto all fours then shove me around as they took turns to rub a leather shamois over my bare behind.”
These are the words of Sally (name changed for legal purposes) a ten-year old from Lancashire. Her story is a distressing one, but it needs to be told. Sally’s ‘grooming’ begins at the age of two when she is kept as the personal slave of a man she refers to as Nigel (name changed for legal purposes).
“They never gave me any clothes. I was forced to sleep in a little basket in the corner of the kitchen. It was so humiliating.”
And it continued into her teens.
"He used to have friends round. Three or four of them at a time, leering at me. Often they’d get drunk and start to chase me around the settee or sofa.One man repeatedly called me Rover. He would shove a bone in my mouth. O God, I’m sorry…".
Sally is crying. I can tell by the mucus in the corners of her eyes that it isn’t the first time. Her yelps are painful to hear, almost like an animals.
The abuse is horrible. One day Sally awakes to find her so-called friend Nigel speaking to an unidentified man on the phone:
“She’s a bitch. Two years old. Nice shiny eyes, pretty friendly girl. You can have her for 50 quid mate.”
“I knew he was talking about me,” says Sally. “It was horrible, and I wet myself all over the floor.”
Her sad eyes are heartbreaking.
But Sally’s life was to get much worse. In 2009 she was sold into a ring. They had many names—CRAPS, PARCS, SCRAP but in public went by the rather disingenuous appellation RSPCA.
It was a professionally run grooming organising which took young bitches off the street and put them into small cages for the pleasure of (sometimes old) men.
“We would get up to fifteen men per week, sometimes with women too, come around to have a play. It was shameless. You should’ve seen the expression on their faces. Some of them would buy the girls and take them home. Or at least that’s what we thought.”
Sally coughs meekly as she continues.
“That was my personal low. Nigel was basically feeling pretty sad and so he took me down to the local car park. That was always his way—whenever he felt sad or depressed he would take it out on me. He wasn’t a bad man really, but something in him, something he couldn’t control. Pubs, restaurants, buses, trains—anywhere just to show me off. Whenever he felt sad or lonely he would take me out and groom me."
It was there that she first encountered the seedy practise of ‘dogging.’
"We were in Wilmslow carpark and that’s where I saw it. In the back of the car.
'Look at that bitch,' Nigel said. 'Look at her go!' Yes, she was in the back of the car with no clothes on. It was obvious that she was in distress because she kept looking around and running from one side to another. Sometimes she would jump up onto the window exposing her…..erm her you know….underside..”
“So you’re saying that there were other people in the car.”
“Yes I believe so. A man must have been under the window, hiding his face. The coward let her..O God….”
Sally is crying again. I try to comfort her.
“Sally I’m so sorry Sally. Come here. It’s all alright now. You’re safe. Here come here. Sit on my lap. That’s it. Good girl. Good girl. Quiet now. This won’t hurt.”
Later we speak to Francis Cully chief executive of Barknardo's which recently commissioned a study that says that the world will end in five years time and has also identified the sad cases of grooming across the UK.
This is but "the tip of the iceberg," said Cully. “Victims like Sally exist. They are being passed from man to man, home to home, city to city, woman to woman, place to place, year to year, corner to corner" before letting out a loud shriek and ruffling her hair into a bush.
Cully believes that Barknardos had 22 teams across the UK and all but one of them had come across organised grooming. If you spot anyone grooming a dog then please contact us.