We were on a woodland camping trip but what was that in my step-dad’s kit bag?
By Naomi Rogan, 24, from Accrington, Lancashire
We took my things up to the till and laid it out on the counter. ‘Thanks, Dad,’ I smiled as Mick handed over the money, before carefully folding the pretty, lacy underwear into a carrier bag.
‘That’s ok, love,’ he smiled, casually slinging an arm over my shoulder. ‘Any time you need a new bra or knickers, just let me know. Your mum doesn’t mind.’
I did think it was a bit odd that Mick was buying me underwear, aged 11. I thought it was something mums did with their daughters.
But it wasn’t unusual for Mick to treat me to presents, so I shrugged it off. Ever since he’d come into our lives, when I was six, he’d made it clear I was his favourite out of my three siblings.
My real dad had left when I was just three, so after that I called Mick ‘Dad’.
He quickly singled me out for special treatment – giving me lifts to school, taking me on trips to McDonalds and lavishing me with gifts.
But then one day, I found a film I didn’t recognise in Mum’s DVD rack. ‘What’s this?’ I turned to Mick, innocently.
‘Pass it here,’ he replied, stretching out his hand. ‘We’ll stick it on and I’ll show you.’
I settled down on the bed, topping and tailing with Mick, as he loaded the DVD into the television in the bedroom.
I was too young to realise then, but it was a porn film. As I watched the characters writhe around on the screen, I immediately tensed – as I felt Mick’s hands snaking over my body.
‘It’s ok, it’s just what they’re doing in the film, see?’ Mick whispered.
I knew he was touching me in places he shouldn’t, pushing beneath my night shirt and shorts, and I asked him to stop.
‘Please, no. I don’t like it,’ I told him, before finally fleeing to the bathroom.
‘I was just showing you what it was, like you asked me,’ he said when I finally emerged. ‘Come on, get dressed, let’s get you a McDonalds.’
After that, Mick’s perverted groping grew more persistent. ‘There’s no point whinging,’ he told me when I cried and complained. ‘Just relax, you’ll like it, you’ll see.’
I tried to avoid Mick’s grasping hands as much as I could, until one day, he suggested a camping trip – just the two of us.
‘That sounds like a lovely idea,’ Mum smiled. ‘It’ll be nice for the two of you to bond.’
It was true, I loved camping, and we’d enjoyed countless trips together as a family – but this was just me and Mick.
I had a bad feeling about it but Mick was insistent and I figured that we were in a public place. I’d be safe… wouldn’t I?
Mick volunteered as a scoutmaster and had access to a beautiful scout hut in a campsite ten minutes away.
‘Oh no, I think I forgot to pack my nightclothes,’ I told him as we unpacked and set up camp. ‘It’s ok, I packed them for you. They’re in my bag, over there,’ he gestured as he set up our pull-out beds.
I grabbed Mick’s rucksack and pulled the drawstrings open. But I didn’t find my nightie and my toothbrush inside, instead it was full of objects I didn’t recognise.
‘What’s all this?’ I asked, turning the bag to Mick. ‘Come here, I’ll show you,’ he said, arms outstretched.
I felt a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, but I did what he asked and made my way over to him.
‘They’re toys,’ he explained, flicking the vibrator on. ‘Your mum’s got some of these. Do you want to play with them?’
I was old enough to know that these weren’t kids’ toys that I wanted to play with. ‘No, they’re for Mum. Not for me. I’m only little, I’m just a baby,’ I protested.
‘But you’re my baby,’ Mick purred. ‘I’m tired,’ I told him. ‘I’m going to bed.’
‘Suit yourself, I’ll be in in a minute,’ Mick replied.
I zipped up my sleeping bag and huddled down tight. I tried to forget what I’d found in Mick’s camping kit and shut my eyes as I willed sleep to come.
A while later, I was woken from my slumber by the sound of buzzing – and the horrifying realisation that Mick was looming over me, and the vibrator was inserted inside me.
Disorientated by my sleepy haze, I froze in panic. ‘What are you doing? Get off!’ I cried.
But I was paralysed with fear – and Mick didn’t stop. ‘Come on, you know you like it.’
‘No, I don’t,’ I managed to whisper, as silent tears rolled down my cheeks. ‘Well, I do,’ he snarled as he pushed the sex toy deeper inside me.
I was a virgin and it was agony, but my hell had only just begun. After he’d abused me with the toys for what felt like forever, Mick climbed onto my little camp-bed and raped me.
I tensed as it felt like my whole body went into shock. The pain tore through me as he brutally forced himself on me.
‘Look at me,’ he hissed as I screwed my eyes shut with pain. ‘No, please stop,’ I whimpered. But it was no use.
Mick overpowered me as all the fight in me ebbed away. Afterwards, I was sore and bleeding but Mick didn’t say a word.
As I climbed into the car the next morning, I just wanted to go home.
‘Come on, we need to talk about what happened last night,’ Mick said, turning to look at me in the passenger seat.
Sick. I didn’t want to talk about it. ‘Well there’s no use telling anyone else about it,’ he sneered. ‘They won’t believe you anyway, you’re just a kid.’
His words rang in my ears. They won’t believe you…
When we got home, I ran to my room and slammed the door. ‘What is it love?’ Mum asked, ‘tell me about your camping trip.’
I longed to open up, but what if she didn’t believe me? And worse, what if it tore our family apart?
Eventually, I pulled myself up and ran myself a bath. I soaked in it for ages, letting the warm water wash over me.
I was still so sore and I felt that monster’s hands pawing at me. I scrubbed and scrubbed and still I didn’t feel clean.
Mum pushed the door open and sat down on the toilet. ‘You’ve been in here ages love,’ she said. ‘I think you’re clean now!’
I’d scrubbed my skin red raw but I still couldn’t get Mick off me. ‘Just a bit longer,’ I told Mum. ‘I’m not clean yet.’
Mum pulled the bathroom door closed again as she said: ‘Ok, I’ll leave you to it.’
After that, Mick raped me whenever he got the opportunity – which was most days. He’d even pounce on me in the bedroom, while Mum and my siblings were downstairs.
I longed for him to be caught out but despite the brazen nature of his abuse, he always got away with it.
‘You know you’d make a lovely wife one day,’ he said, running his hands over my body. ‘Maybe you’ll be my wife, we could have children together.’
It was sick. I was just a child myself. Mick even made me take pregnancy tests, lying to me that they were diabetes tests and telling Mum I was in a relationship with my big brother’s friend.
I was trapped in a living nightmare and I could see no escape. Until one day, when I was 14, Mum came running upstairs and barged into my bedroom.
‘Naomi, it’s Mick. He’s been arrested. What have you said?’
I listened in stunned silence as Mum told me Mick had been arrested at work that morning. I hadn’t said anything, so what was going on?
Bang, bang, bang!
A knock at the door broke the silence – and Mum opened it to find the police on the doorstep. A friend of mine had accused Mick of trying to abuse her too.
‘We wanted to have a chat to you now, Naomi,’ one of the officers turned to me.
In that moment, everything flooded out. I told them everything as Mum listened in disbelief.
‘It’s true,’ I yelled. ‘Look, I’ll show you!’ I ran upstairs and dug out the bag of sex toys under the bed.
I’ll never forget the look on Mum’s face then. She went white as a sheet.
‘How could you not know?’ I screamed at her. ‘You’re my mum, you’re meant to be protect me. But Mick was abusing me all along!’
All my hurt and anger poured out then. And it was the sex toys, and my testimony, that formed the basis of the prosecution.
In February 2013, Michael Drinkwater was convicted of multiple rape at Burnley Crown Court and jailed indefinitely.
My relationship with Mum never really recovered after that, but I felt a huge sense of relief to have finally got justice.
That monster took me into Camp Evil and robbed me of my innocence. I was just a kid but the toys he used on me were no childsplay.
I hope he rots in jail, where he belongs.
Naomi wanted to raise awareness of grooming and sexual abuse and knew that telling her story to the national press would make a difference. We helped Naomi sell her story to Take a Break magazine and if you want to speak out about something that’s happened to you, contact us on the form on the right and we’ll give you a call for a confidential, no-obligation chat through the process.