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Expert By Experience

EXPERT BY EXPERIENCE STORY

5 June 2023



Ambassador for Comfort Cases UK. Expert by Experience of Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. Lived Experience of the Care System.

I went into care aged 14 with only the clothes I stood up in. Didn't know a great deal about hygiene, self care or image. Just knew a lot about how to stay alive.



There were a lot of firsts going into a foster family. My social worker took me shopping for my first toothbrush and hairbrush. My first time eating with a knife and fork and more importantly the first time I ate an egg! (Its a long story! Mostly I was told what I'd like to eat and what I was never allowed)I moved around 13 foster homes and 3 children's homes within 2 years. Along the way I was gratefully given more belongings, small treasures were collected from the house I was dragged up in. A keyring, a couple of photos..not a great deal more. Each time I moved my belongings were put in a bin bag. I felt so rubbish I didn't even know how this also symbolised how I felt let alone reinforce it.One day my treasures were put in a small box and they went to the social workers office. Sadly when I called to get them they were no longer there.The work that Comfort Cases UK do and hearing all about it really resonated me. We can forget the simple things when there's so much big stuff to deal with. When you have nothing, everything is important. When you have no one someone will make a difference.Recently I put one of my treasured belongings in a bin bag, to see how that felt as an adult. I took a walk around the neighbourhood. Instantly, I was taken back to a time that I could only describe as hell on this earth. I reflected on that time and that terrified girl walking into a strangers house, not knowing what was next. The fear of asking for something I needed, where if I asked the people who raised me I'd get beaten or worse.I brought myself back into the present, with my loyal dog, my home nearby, the food in my fridge and the warmth of my friends..Still grasping the bin bag.I wondered if I'd of had a Comfort Case would I have been able to keep my treasures? It would have avoided so much fear around asking. I never had a Teddy as a kid, I would have loved one. Maybe the foster families thought I wouldn't of been interested as I was a teenager?If by sharing this brief heartfelt story moves you to support please do so. Any contribution will have a massive impact on a child who may have, like me come from nothing but fear.So, here's THE CHALLENGE - put some of your most treasured belongings in a bin bag, and carry them around with you for the day. Maybe replace your briefcase, or your handbag, your gymbag or your school bag.....Take a photo of yourself and tag @comfortcasesuk on instagram or facebook. Let's make people aware of this issue. The hashtag is #nomorebinbags.Would you put your treasure in a bin bag?


21 April 2023 by Rachel W



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