Kate Elysia tells in new book how she considered suicide after first being targeted while an 18-year-old student.
A Birmingham victim of grooming gangs has revealed how she was raped and abused by more than 70 men – but only two were ever brought to justice.
Kate Elysia tells in a harrowing new book titled No Way Out how she considered suicide after first being targeted by the sex attackers while an 18-year-old student.
What followed was years of abuse from men in Birmingham and the West Midlands, abuse which left her addicted to drugs and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
But she eventually managed to escape the psychological hold the gangs had on her and helped the police with Operation Chalice, a ground-breaking investigation into Asian grooming gangs.
The phenomenon of grooming by gangs has been investigated in Rochdale, Rotherham and, most recently, Telford.
Leaders of the Asian communities in each of the towns, and in Birmingham, have strongly condemned those responsible.
Image of the cover of Kate’s book
Two of Kate’s attackers were jailed for rape – but most are still walking the streets despite police investigations.
“They degraded me to the point where I’d become this sex thing, this thing that wasn’t human, but just an object,” she says.
“To the point where I believed that’s what I was.”
Detailing why she decided to go public about her ordeal, she adds: “There is a lot in the media about under-age girls being trafficked, and rightly so.
“But there is not so much about girls who are over the age of consent, or who are 18 and considered to be adults.
“I was 18 the first time I was raped. I was 18 when I was serially gang-raped. I was 18 when I was trafficked all over England and given to many men, sometimes as many as ten in one night.
“Some, like me, are survivors. For others there’s little hope and they end up as prostitutes, addicted to drugs. I was lucky.”
Coming from a happy family background, Kate moved away from home at the age of 18 and into sheltered accommodation in a Midlands town.
Unbeknown to her, the area she was living in was within walking distance from the home of Shayyir Ali and his psychotic cousin, Farooq.
They quickly spotted the young new neighbour and a menacing series of conversations and confrontations between them culminated in her being attacked.
Kate tells in the book how she was first raped days before taking her A Levels after recently released criminal Farooq barged his way into her flat and ordered her male friend out.
“He says he wants to see me naked and I tell him that I don’t want him to,” she recalls.
“He’s strong, a lot stronger than me. He manages to pull my dress off and I’m standing there in my girl boxers and bra.
“He starts to take off his own clothes and I freeze, like a frightened rabbit. I know I should try and get past him, get to the door. Get out! But I don’t. It’s like I’m paralysed and I can’t move.
“He grabs me again and I pull away to back away but he pushes me towards the bed. I want to fight him but I can’t because I’m scared that he will hurt me if I do.”
After brutally raping her, sadistic thug Farooq threatened her – to stop her going to the police. Scared and in shock, the young student hid away in her flat over the coming days, leaving only briefly to take her A Levels.
But her nightmare returned when Shayyir Ali and another man also forced their way into her flat, where they both sexually abused her.
This time, Kate bravely went to police.
But she was put off from making a formal complaint of rape when officers warned her that they would have to go to her flat and arrest her accusers.
Worried about the consequences of a police investigation and a potential trial, Kate needed sensitive advice and support from police.
Without it, she declined to make a formal rape allegation. Instead, she claims that an officer suggested she could make an ‘intelligence’ statement about what had happened, to be used if the men were ever accused of sex attacks in the future.
She went ahead with the statement, a decision that she would later bitterly regret.
“Looking back, I guess it was the way they were with rape at the time,” she says.
“The whole way they dealt with rape victims was really s**t, from the top down. It was an organisational failing.”
raumatised by the attacks, the police inaction and trapped in her accommodation, Kate began being picked off by new abusers linked to the cousins, who had passed her phone number and address on to other men.
Eventually, the cycle of abuse became the norm and she fell into a life of rape and drugs – drugs supplied by the men who were attacking her.
“Sexual abuse was a constant thing now. It didn’t even seem like abuse any more, it seemed normal life.”
She was driven to properties around the West Midlands to be abused by multiple men.
Others would approach her in the street, asking her for sex.
The lost student was eventually drawn to Birmingham by drugs and dealers like Asif, where the abuse took on a new terrifying regularity and her cocaine use grew into a destructive addiction.
“Once Asif had control of me I slept in squats and stayed in some terrible conditions when I came up to Birmingham,” she says.
“I sometimes stayed in a house on Stratford Road, which I found out used to be a cannabis farm.
“Sexual abuse was a constant thing now. It didn’t even seem like abuse any more, it seemed normal life.
“The Pakistani men I came into contact with made me believe I was nothing more than a s**t, a white w***e. They treated me like a leper, apart from when they wanted sex.
“I was less than human to them, I was rubbish.”
Despite the abuse and drugs Kate looked for a way out, at a university on a nursing course.
During this double life she became a convert to Islam for a period and then married a Syrian man, whom she later divorced.
But she was drawn back to drugs and her abusers in Birmingham.
“I was a university student down in Essex during the week and a denizen of the night in Birmingham whenever I had the opportunity,” she says.
“I mixed with the dirty people, the homeless, the prostitutes, the rats. I hung out in halal chicken and chip shops on Coventry Road and Alum Rock Road, Green Lane and Bordesley Green, and Ladypool Road.
”The book chronicles in harrowing detail the systematic grooming and prolonged abuse of Kate, who fell deeply into drug use at one time, turning to crack.”
Yet she survived and incredibly went on to complete her nursing degree – and landed a mental health nursing role at a Birmingham hospital.
Finally, she took the step to report the many men who had abused her to the police. She bravely gave evidence against Farooq, and he was jailed for ten years for three rapes.
Kate also gave evidence against Shayyir Ali, who was found guilty of two rapes and one attempted rape, and sentenced to six years, and five on licence.
“I felt a sense of satisfaction and closure after sentences were passed on Farooq and Shayyir Ali,” she says.
“Details of the trials of the men who raped me were published in the newspapers and it felt weird, like it wasn’t me they were talking about.
“The reports gave me the opportunity to look at my situation objectively for the first time. I saw how I was manipulated psychologically as well as physically and it helped me to finally break the chains of confusion and melancholia that held me prisoner for so long.”
Despite police inquiries most of her abusers remain free, but she says the book is a way of finally letting go of the past – and helping other girls who are being sexually exploited.
The ultimate goal of writing this book was to show other victims that there is a different life,” she says.
“There is willpower and strength inside themselves.
“Eventually I discovered these IS a way out.”
* No Way Out is published by Ebury Press and is priced at £7.99.
*All names have been changed for legal reasons.
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