Hackney mum left with 'deep scars' after sexual assault at school
- Credit: Abi Oshodi, AO-Photography
A Hackney mum, model and mentor has told her story of sexual assault in school and called for more conversations with children around consent.
Founder of the digital sisterhood community Dope Black Mums, Nina Malone, 38, shared her experiences of being sexually abused by older children from the age of about six.
She explained how fear and a lack of confidence in her own judgement kept her from speaking out: “I constantly think I’m not worthy and blame myself for what happened, even though I was only a child and didn’t understand what was happening or how to voice it.”
In a mental health chat on YouTube, hosted by mental health trainer and head of Nova Associates Clare Davis, Nina said the abuse was "dressed up as just a game" and that she played the events down as a coping mechanism.
The mother-of-two explained: “It was only when I was a teenager and I realised I knew more about sex than my peers did I understand that what had happened to me was wrong."
Nina added: "Shame and guilt have left a deeper scar than any physical injury."
A 2018 government report 2018 found over a third of girls and six per cent of boys reported sexual harassment at mixed-sex schools - and thousands received counselling for sexual assault.
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As a victim of harassment and attacks throughout her life, Nina believes it helps to report an incident immediately but understands how difficult it can be to do so.
The 38-year-old described an assault she experienced as a teenager and the difficulty in reporting it weeks after the incident took place. “I’ve been in uncomfortable situations and the same pattern of behaviour seems to play out. I ignore red flags and my gut instincts – it’s like I don’t trust my judgement and don’t want to cause a scene, so I fail to react,” she said.
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“I felt morally irresponsible for not reporting the assault sooner. But I had to build up the strength just to physically walk into a police station."
The Hackney mum hopes the younger generation feel more empowered to speak out, but added: "We have to be careful what messages we send our children.
"They shouldn’t have to hug people they don’t want to or do things which makes them physically uncomfortable.
“We should encourage them to trust their instincts and we, as adults, should look into any warning signs."
Learn more at www.safeandfree.co.uk/education-pack