Title: I Never Gave My Consent
Author: Holly Archer
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 28th July 2016
I closed my eyes for a second, hoping that when I opened then I’d be somewhere else, anywhere, that wasn’t the inside of Mr Khan’s car. But there was no escape. I was here and I’d have to keep coming here whenever he wanted. ‘You do as I say’, he said. ‘Or I rape your mum. I come for your sisters and I rape your mum.’
Holly Archer was just fourteen when she became embroiled in a web of exploitation and abuse in the West Midlands town of Telford. Enduring violent rapes and death threats, she was forced to have sex with several men a night in the most squalid circumstances. Holly was not living in care. The abuse happened under the noses of her family but she was too scared to tell anyone. She soon fell into despair and then inevitably, fell pregnant.
Holy fled Telford aged sixteen. She moved house often, fearing her abusers would hunt her down. Police finally launched an investigation into child exploration in the town and seven men were eventually jailed. Having survived her ordeal, Holly now tells her full, shocking story. It is horrifying but also essential insight into how gangs of men were able to prey on vulnerable girls and what might have been done to stop them.
With this book being a true story and about a sex ring in Telford where I live, I was quite eager to read it as I’m sure you would understand.
Holly and I are only a few years apart in age and like it was for me it was normal to be outside all day and as long into the evening you could get. All the kids come together to play games regardless of their ages, so her childhood, to me, started off normal. It wasn’t until the older children had grown up and no longer wanted to play football with her and her friend Gemma that they started to wander into town – again when I’m reading this, I’m pretty much like, yup that’s normal – exactly what we used to do when we were kids.
I guess it would be probably fair to say that her life started to changed dramatically from this point forward. She would have boys shouting across the street for her to ‘sort them out’ – all because Gemma had given one boy a blowjob behind the church and Holly and another guy came to arrangement that they would say she had given him a blowjob but never did. She would literally get this verbal abuse shouted to her whenever she walked into town, by people she didn’t know and towards the end of the book felt like she had do ‘sort them out’ in case they told her boyfriend ‘Omar’. I really did feel her for at this point, but a question that keeps coming to me, is why keep going into town? If this was happening to me, I would just stay clear!
Holly managed to get involved with a pimp who would pimp her out weekly, daily and even several times on a daily basis to different men. This was all going on while she was also being picked up by Mr Khan – something which rings alarm bells to me, but in her eyes appeared to be innocent I guess would be the best way to put it.
There were many rumours flying around about Holly, some of them true – yes she was a prostitute – and some of them either exaggerated or made up, which from my point of view leads her to be gang raped. The men who did this to her, did it because they believed that Holly has slept with one of their sons, something which wasn’t too. She was drugged and gang raped by men – men who should have known better, men who have wives and families of their own and would be devastated if this was ever to happen to their own daughter I’m sure.
Throughout the book I kept asking myself, why isn’t she turning to someone – not everyone has a great relationship with their parents I know, but a teacher, a family friend, or the police themselves. She was scared for the safety of her mum and sisters I get that, but surely someone would be able to help?!
Everything eventually comes out in the wash as it does and Holly moved away from Telford at a really young age, but kept moving around as she didn’t want the abusers to find her. She did manage to find a partner, although the relationship didn’t last and have a child with him and later on another one with someone else.
Overall I found this book really interesting and is certainly an eye opener to what can happen and does happen and I’m sure is still happening on your doorstep.
I purchased my copy from Amazon – you can find this link for the book here – it is also available to download for a Kindle too.
Overall rating: 8/10
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on it?