No Way Out - Kate Elysia
"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds" Marcus Garvey
My name is Lauren Elysia Priddey, You may better know me as Kate Elysia.
I am a Survivor of grooming gangs. Some people call us Survivors. Some people do not like that term or the term Victim. Victim is a very formal word, and can be disempowering word for what we are going through. When we have had to FIGHT so hard for our survival.
Not only do we have our internal fight with our mental health, we also have to stand up for ourselves in front of perpetrators, members of our families, the authorities, and other people in society. Even a soldier in the army may not have to endure the level of trauma we have been through and fought to survive. Facing such things as torture, rape, gang rape, beatings, psychological manipulation, physical abuse and the most horrendous sexual abuse this country has ever seen.
I am here to empower them. Show them they can fight for themselves and win. Show them how to cope with their mental health and emotions. Tell them they are superheroes and teach them how to survive and save themselves when they feel no one else can save them. When they feel no one else understands, the Survivors who have been through it and survived are here for them.
It is still going on, the police and social services, although now aware that this is a crime and that children cannot chose a life style of prostitution at that age (and they had to be taught that in a class room). Not all of them have changed their opinions, and the training varies in different areas of the country. They suffer 'Compassion Fatigue' at times because they cannot identify with the emotions attached to being a grooming gang victim.
I have had 6 years of experience of being trapped in grooming gangs. I have also been a qualified mental health nurse for 8 years. With 8 years of experience working with older adults, vulnerable adults, sex offenders, sexual trauma survivors, adolescents and people in crisis. There are young social workers and young police officers out there who have had no where near the level of experience I have had. Yet I get no recognition for this, I still have to hide my expertise on the subject and cannot add it to my CV. I am sure there are many Survivors who are in a similar level of experience to me.
I would like to employ Survivors who are now at a level where they feel strong enough to become mentors themselves. This could be done remotely with Zoom so that I could run a mentorship programme with victims and survivors all over the country.
The idea was founded after training with NWG Network on Child Criminal Exploitation, it was a mother, talking about her child who had become mixed up in gangs at the age of 13 and all services interventions failed and by the age of 18 they were still mixed up in gangs. The mother told us, the only thing that ever worked for her child was when she found a Mentor who was an ex gang member whom she had to pay for.
The person spoke to her child and made a massive difference, they were able to discuss issues 'in the hood' that police and social services never would have been able to know anything about, discuss with the child or reach out and connect with them.
I wrote my book No Way Out under the pen name Kate Elysia to help teach survivors the valuable survival skills I used that had helped me survive my abuse.
When we approached publishers they reported that there was no book genres that this kind of book would fit into and could only accept my book as a 'misery memoir' for adult readers. I organised my Survival skills into a later chapter towards the end of my book. This is a continuation of this.
My aim is to actually help girls (and boys) who have been through sexual trauma and teach them the skills I learnt through traumatic experiences and teach them what helped me cope and what can help them cope and find a way out.
I had unfair advantages, such as already having my GCSEs and A levels. I was older when I was abused so I understood better what was happening to me. I avoided alcohol, not an easy thing for many victims to do whilst in the depth of their abuse. This means I am able to mentally process what happened to me better and come to terms with it.
Survivors - I will never give up on you, no one is a lost cause. For the young people who feel they have never been understood and are judged for their distress and mood swings related to the sexual trauma that should have been prevented.
I would like to offer a 'Mentorship Package' for young people (victims in grooming gangs) and their families. This includes travelling to meet you wherever you are, if you are a young person or you could be a parent, friend or relative, you can book me for your loved one with their permission.
I would like provide an hour to two hour sessions 1:1 with the young person focused on survival/coping techniques, teaching how to risk assess and reduce harmful behaviours, also as a listening ear from one survivor to another and some practical trauma therapy techniques. This could include up to 3 sessions and 6 weeks of telephone/video call support.
I'd also love to have group get togethers with the Survivors I employ and the young people they're working with and do group activities/school trip type things, like going to the theme park or going Go Kart Racing. One of my survival skills to save my own mental health was to always take the opportunity to do something that would not result in sex or drink and drugs and intentionally choose that activity over the gang.
I am crowdfunding this so that people who want to help victims and survivors of grooming gangs can fund a mentorship programme for a current victim or a struggling survivor so that people who cannot afford this can actually get a visit from a mental health nurse who is also a survivor and this may actually help that person and actually make a difference.
To make this possible I need to crowdfund for some of the expenses of setting up the business.
Set up includes
- Registering as a business or charity
- Development of a Website.
- Hardware or Software related to the development of the business
Once set up is complete
I predict the expenses to be as follows
Trauma therapy activity supplies (such as fidget toys, stress balls, soothing boxes, arts and crafts etc)
Lunch or teas and coffees with the young person if we go out on a trip or meet in a coffee shop.
Once in a while group trips.
This charity idea is in the early stages of development. If the crowdfunding goes well but I cannot get further funding to set up as a charity then I'd like to use the money for individual mentoring in my spare time. So I can help anyone I possibly can with what I've got.
If I do manage to reach the dream of setting this up as a successful charity I'd like to develop new and innovative mentoring packages suited to the individuals and may be actually able to set up as a charitable business.
If you want to empower survivors to have meaningful lives and fill them with self worth please donate, every little helps, the more you donate the sooner I can help my first young person and then the next one and then the next one.
If you are a young person or parent who would like to express an interest in the mentoring service please also get in touch with me. I have a facebook page where you can message me and you can also message me though this crowdfunder.