I was just 16 when I agreed to go to Marcus' party. I could never have imagined the months of hell he had in store... By Carrianne Holman, 20/?p=p8030

‘Shall we go out tonight?’ I suggested, desperate for a change of scenery. I’d just moved out of foster care and into supported lodging in January 2013 and I was keen to make some friends.

A group of us agreed to head to a local park and it was great just to be out of the house for once. I had such a terrific evening, laughing and joking, and I didn’t want the night to end.

We were all sat in a group when we were approached by a man named Marcus. He seemed nice enough and was quick to join in on the fun.

‘You guys having a good night?’ he asked, and I nodded as he offered out cigarettes. The two of us struck up a conversation and we clicked straight away.

‘I’m having a house party back at mine if you all want to come for a drink,’ he offered. But everyone wanted to go home. Not ready for the night to end, I agreed to go back with Marcus.

‘Don’t worry, guys, I’ll catch up with you later,’ I smiled, excited to meet some new people. But at the party I immediately noticed that everyone was much older than me.

Feeling out of place, I tried my best to enjoy myself as Marcus plied me with drinks. I didn’t think anything of it but as, one by one, everyone left, I started to worry about getting home.

‘I think I’m going to head back now,’ I said to Marcus, shifting uncomfortably in my chair. I hadn’t realised how late it was, but Marcus was desperate for me to stay.

‘No, don’t go,’ he pleaded, rushing off to pour me another drink. But I don’t want anything else to drink, I thought, I want to go home.

Seeing that Marcus was preoccupied in the kitchen, I saw my chance and made my way to the door. But Marcus had spotted me trying to leave and made a beeline for me.

Before I had time to think, he was suddenly next to me. With a cold look in his eyes, he grabbed my arm as I reached for the door and dragged me up the stairs.

‘I just want to go home,’ I begged but Marcus wasn’t listening to me. Violently shoving me into his bedroom, he forced himself on me.

I wanted to scream but, terrified, I was frozen to the spot. As he brutally raped me, all I could do was just pray for it to be over, willing the horror to end.

Afterwards, Marcus took me down the stairs and tears pricked my eyes at the thought of finally escaping. But my stomach churned as I realised my nightmare was only just beginning.

Instead of letting me go, Marcus dragged me down the hallway and bundled me into a boiler cupboard.

‘Are you going to kill me?’ I asked, my heart pounding in my chest. But Marcus ignored me as he shut me in. Panic-stricken, I felt sick listening to his footsteps head back up the stairs.

Trapped and terrified, I cried myself to sleep, convinced he was going to come back to finish me off. I hoped that somehow this was all a horrific dream but after that night, my life became a living hell.

I stayed in the house where Marcus would regularly beat and rape me, and often I’d be sold to other men. The weeks passed by in a blur as I was raped up to seven times a day.

Petrified of what Marcus would do if I tried to escape, I was too scared to leave and with no hope, I sat in the cupboard praying that one day Marcus would hit me too hard and I’d die.

Anything was better than this hell.

The police must have been suspicious of Marcus because over the months, there were several raids on the house. But, tucked away in the boiler cupboard, I was never found.

After months of hell, one day, I finally broke down. I had no idea what Marcus’ reaction would be as, at my lowest moment, I begged him to end my life.

‘Please just kill me now,’ I pleaded, crushed by the systematic abuse. There was a small hope I held that Marcus might take pity on me, but I prepared myself for the usual rage and anger.

I flinched and, to my surprise, Marcus didn’t lash out. But looking up at him, my blood ran cold. To my horror, he stared me dead in the eye and laughed.

‘No, I enjoy it too much,’ he smiled, describing his twisted fantasy of marrying me. ‘I’ll get you pregnant and then we can live here together forever.’ Sick. I thought I’d never get away.

I knew no one would be looking for me. I had no family and staff at the lodging I was staying at would have assumed I’d run off. There was no escape, I was at this monster’s mercy.

But one day, in October 2013, there was a warrant out for Marcus’ arrest and when the police raided, this time, they swept the entire house.

Petrified, I huddled into a ball in the corner of the boiler cupboard. Too scared to make a noise, I listened to a police officer pushing aside boxes from the front of the cupboard. Catching my eye, he stopped dead in his tracks.

‘Are you okay?’ he asked me. ‘Do you need help?’ I didn’t respond but the officer helped me to my feet and guided me out of the house. I was finally free.

Taken to the safety of a police station, I was asked to make a statement. At first, I was too scared to say anything. I couldn’t bear the idea of Marcus coming after me.

But he’d already made the last nine horrifying months of my life hell and now it was time for justice. I spoke about my ordeal, telling the police about the repeated rapes and abuse.

‘Girls need to be warned about him,’ I urged them. Refusing to be beaten by this bully, I wanted to make sure Marcus never had the chance to do this to another girl.

Over the next couple of years, more girls abused by Marcus came forward and together, we fought against him. In July 2016, our strength paid off as Marcus was sentenced to life behind bars.

Finally, I breathed a sigh of relief. He was jailed for the systematic abuse of four young girls, including rape and violence towards me. I had finally got the justice I deserved.

For the first time in years, I felt free from the monster that had locked me up and brutally abused me.

After the sentencing, I started to receive pestering letters from Marcus in prison, begging me to drop the charges against him.

I love you, he wrote. I want to marry you and have children. You mean everything to me - so please just drop the charges.

It was sick. I had no idea how he found my address but the police put a stop to it and now I’m moving on with my life.

I have constant support from my partner Dave, 25, and he has become my rock. Whenever I have a flashback or nightmare, he’s by my side to help me get through it.

I also have a little girl to think about now, Poppy-May, two. She’s my world and I’ve already enrolled her in karate classes so she’ll be able to stand up for herself if she ever needs to.

I’m still learning to move on from my dark past in Marcus’ boiler cupboard but it’s always there, haunting me every day. I’ll never forget what happened.

I’m too scared to go out alone after dark and I dread the day Poppy-May wants to go out with her friends. I don’t know how I’m going to cope when that day comes.

The nine months I spent in that monster’s clutches will live with me forever. I’ll always remember his cruel laugh, at my darkest moment, when I begged him to kill me.

But I’m looking towards the future. Marcus is locked up where he belongs and I’ve finally got the family I always longed for and I refuse to be beaten. I’m not a victim, I’m a survivor.

Carrianne will never forget her horrifying ordeal but our team helped her tell her story in her own words, to support, encourage and inspire other women who have been victims of sexual violence. If you have a story you want to share or an issue you want to highlight, why not contact us to find out how we can help.


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