Written by Standard Issue

Voices

I thought I knew what I was doing, now I know different

The Adam Johnson case has prompted one writer to speak about her experiences as a 15-year-old having a relationship with a much older man. And how, despite what she thought at the time, it can never be right.

thoughtful girlI was that 15-year-old. The one who developed first. The one who had a figure of a 21-year-old aged 15. The one who seduced older men for kicks.

This was all in an age before social media, before even having my own mobile phone. This was the 90s. I knew exactly what I was doing… It’s only now in my 30s and hearing the story about Adam Johnson, the England footballer awaiting sentencing for grooming an underage girl, that I can reflect on my own actions and realise I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, only trying to find validation for my own purpose after losing my dad to cancer aged 13.

Now, when I say ‘seduced’, it wasn’t quite like that. What did I know then of men other than schoolboys? I used to enjoy staring seductively at the teacher until he was so red in the face he’d have to leave the room or tell a man I was 19 in a bar when I was secretly out partying with my low-cut top as my ‘ID’ (sorry Mum).

There’s a difference for me in the girl who lies about her age to a man. A teenage schoolgirl can look 18 with the right clothes and makeup. But the girl who ‘seduced’ Adam Johnson never did those things. He knew her age, he asked her and with the help of social media carried out his intrigue.

Controversial ‘journalist’ Katie Hopkins called this girl “would-be WAG to slag”, suggesting the case against Johnson was nonsense. This is what’s made me finally speak out about what happened to me.

“The first and only time I slept with him in his house was while his wife was at work and I will never forget the terror, the pure fear that set in after the deed was done.”

Of course this young girl was excited to be talking to one of her idols, a fit young sportsman playing for her team, a man worshipped countrywide for playing for England. Many of us, at 15, would have been so excited to see him and talk to him and, of course, to meet him… Maybe anything else he wanted too.

He should have known better.

At 15, I had a short relationship with a married man of 32. He drove a sports car, would turn up at my Saturday job and sit outside the window. I could hardly breathe at the sight of him. Of course I knew his age; I used to joke to my friends how I liked older men, how they had more to offer me than the schoolboys that flocked round me. In my heightened sense of insecurity, the need to be wanted, these schoolboys were easy pickings.

This man also knew my age: his children and I shared the same hobby and that’s how we met. I was in the U16 girls category in competitions he attended with his family. The first and only time I slept with him in his house was while his wife was at work and I will never forget the terror, the pure fear that set in after the deed was done. In the house were photos of him and his wife, his children in their school uniforms on the walls.

I was completely out of my depth and wanted to go home to my mum. You may ask, how did it come to this? With his flashy sports car and smile and my Saturday job in Spring Gardens, Manchester, we were away from the innocence of the hobby his children and I shared.

I’m sure if you asked him, he would tell you I led him on, that I consented to everything that happened that day. I did, of course, but looking back I feel so sad, disgusted and a shame to my mum and family.

I may have had the body of an older woman but I had train tracks on my teeth and saw Robbie leaving Take That as my biggest worry.

legs-pixabayI saw this man again about three years ago when I was 30. He tried to talk to me like we were old buddies and all I wanted to do was scream the room down and say, “Beware of this man.” I may have been the only young girl in his life and it is probably the same for Adam Johnson but still I ask: why do it? What could I offer other than younger skin and fresher eyes? Certainly not my wise tales and opinions on current affairs. The whole thing was perverted.

Back then I was grieving for my father and looking for comfort and found that using my body was the easy way to get it. Yes, I consented and maybe even courted it. I was way too immature to really see the bigger picture but he certainly should have. My behaviour was no excuse for his. I hope he thinks of me when he reads about this case.

I hope some teenage girls may see themselves in me, in this article and stay away from these paedophiles. For me, that’s exactly what they are.

So to anyone, including Katie Hopkins, I stand firmly behind his guilty plea and hope no 15-year-old girl will look back and have a memory like mine. Shame on you Adam Johnson. She was 15.

–Anonymous. All photos posed by models.

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Written by Standard Issue