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Sammy Woodhouse, Rotherham Whistleblower, Talks To Us About Her Book “Just a Child”

Sammy

At 14, Sammy Woodhouse met 24 year old Arshid Hussain whilst she was out with her friends. He took a shining to her and began showering her with gifts, turning up in his flashy car and making her feel wanted, something most teenage girls want once they reach secondary school.

As it turned out, Hussain was merely grooming Sammy who before long, became one of the estimated 1510 victims of sexual abuse in Rotherham between the years of 1997 and 2013. Hussain, along with the remaining members of his grooming gang was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Sammy, now 32, is a mother to two boys & continually campaigning against the growing trend of grooming gangs in the UK.

Her book, Just a Child, details her full ordeal at the hands of the Pakistani gang who used and abused predominantly White girls in the South Yorkshire town. Sammy was kind enough to answer some questions for us at Defend Europa.

 

Firstly, how are you and have you enjoyed the British sunshine this weekend?
It’s nice to finally get some sunshine in the UK and I’ll certainly be making the most of it.
 
Was it your idea to write the book or was it suggested to you?
The book was suggested to me, several writers got in contact. At first I said no but then Rachel Murphy contacted me and I said yes. She’s done some amazing work and I connected really well with her.
 
It must have been very hard to write with recounting what happened, how did you approach it?
It was extremely difficult to write the book as I had to put myself back there. A lot I couldn’t openly talk about so me and my writer tried different ways for me to write it, in the end I would write something down then send it her and back and fourth. In total we worked on the book for 4 years. I’m glad I did it and I’m a lot more open about things now. I always say the best thing a person can do is to talk about it.
 
Was there any push-back from the publisher in terms of details or legalities?
Legally there were some things I wasn’t allowed to talk about which is frustrating but that’s just how the law is. I was with several publishers but in the end I was able to work with a publisher that allowed me full control over my story and that was extremely important to me.
 
What kind of feedback have you had from people who have bought and read the book? Your Twitter is certainly full of compliments.
The feedback has been amazing. I’ve had so many people contacting me saying it’s helped them and they have now come forward. I’ve also had a lot of professionals say they’ve read it and it’s been better than any training they’ve ever been on which is great. A lot of parents have thanked me too as it’s given them a better understanding. Of course I’ve had the odd few people that blame me or say something bad about me which I expected. I’ve been in the public domain now for 5 years so I am a little used to it, I can’t please everyone. For people to blame me or call me a liar speaks more about their character than mine. I don’t pay any attention. Exposing Rotherham with Andrew Norfolk and all the work I’ve done since has helped millions of people and that’s what I focus on.
 
On the flipside, have you had any negative feedback and has it been from the section of society you’d expect it from?
I’ve only seen a few bad things said about me since the book so it’s not something that’s been an issue. I’ve always had amazing support from the nation. Some people in Rotherham don’t like the fact that I’ve got some justice and now doing a lot better in life. They would prefer it if I was still in a bad place and some have an agenda and want me to fail. Since everything has happened in Rotherham it became a lot like a circus and everyone wanted a career, book deal, drama series or attention from the media. Unfortunately for some people it was like a competition and they aren’t happy that I’m doing well. I ignore it now and try to rise above it but in the past it’s been difficult.
 
With more stories coming out that are similar to your own, can you see the situation getting worse before it gets better?
I don’t think situation can get any worse. There’s been a [a lot of] child rape across the country. The authorities ignored it then, covered it all up and some still continue to do so.
 
What would you say to people that think that someone may be being groomed but doesn’t want to say anything for fear of retaliation or being called “racist”?
I would say to those people what’s worse? A child being raped, beaten, tortured and sold or being called a racist? Which helps you sleep best at night?
 
How did your family cope with everything that happened and the inaction from the police?
Families are affected massively and are very much forgotten about. It ripped my family apart as it does all. It’s important they’re supported too.
 
Here at DE, we publish stories which are not given the time of day by the larger news organisations. Do you think there is still a problem with the MSM not wanting to report on Muslims gangs because of the labels they get?
I think there are definitely issues with the media as they’re not using the appropriate language when talking about this and when anyone talks about race or religion they’re still branded as a racist, etc. We need to start having open and honest conversations. All races and religions commit abuse and all can be a victim to it. Look how many cover ups the church has been involved with! Shocking.
 
Have you, whilst promoting your book, been told that you cant say anything against Asians etc?
I say what I want and wont have anyone tell me I’m not allowed to speak about race. The only thing I’m ever told about is don’t swear, and then on the legal side, no names etc.
 
Finally, what is next for you personally and what do you have coming up in trying to change policies?
I’m very focused on my boys and my career now. I’ve got lots of very exciting things coming up with my campaigns and work which I can’t yet discuss with anyone, but I finally feel I’m on the right track, I just need to remind myself to get a social life!!

You can follow Sammy on Twitter @sammywoodhouse1 and her book “Just a Child” is available here

 

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