We moved into the Shankhill estate, at the time we thought it would have been great. We got off to a really good start but shortly after that things started to go terribly wrong.
I am 17 and I was born in Glasgow, Scotland. We moved to Belfast because my Granny went through a lung operation with cancer. My Granny had cancer of the lung. She had been here for years. My Granny is Scottish. When my Daddy’s real Daddy died she just moved here with me Daddy and then she got married again.
We moved into the Shankhill estate, at the time we thought it would have been great. We got off to a really good start but shortly after that things started to go terribly wrong. I think it was one of the older houses on Malvern Way.
I made a close friend and we got on really well. Her friend from my school started, like, making trouble between us and saying that I was a slapper behind her back and that there. For about six months we were fighting and slagging and all that there. It was really terrible and then it went on for about six months, maybe more. Then it finally come to an end when we both said, “Right, enough.” We just stopped calling each other names and slagging the family off and everything. It’s just not right. So we actually became friends.
It was like two weeks after my 15th birthday I was attacked. Me and my Mummy just moved into our house. Me and my friend just got money off my Mum and were going down to the shop to get some sweets. There is like this here wall. You know how some of them turn in at the side and it goes along and you can’t see anybody behind it. Well she was standing behind there with her friends. Just at the side of that Court House. We were walking up there to go to the garage and I was still in my uniform. She had hit me before, so my Daddy said, “Next time hit her back or I will hit you.” So I wasn’t going to have me Daddy hitting me so I hit her back this time cuz she hit me from behind. And then because I hit her back she got me with a blade in the neck, well a sharp object in the neck, and the head.
I didn’t know what to think at the time. Ever since that happened to me my life hasn’t been the same. But it has helped me in the long run. It helped me open up. It has helped me speak more openly and all that there as well. Before that ever happened I used to be a shy wee girl. I am not any more I just speak my mind.
Well, if I look in the mirror I have to see a big scar on my head. Like a lot of people can’t see it, but I can see it because I know where it is, sitting right there on my head. I didn’t think getting stabbed would ever happen to me. But you know you never know what is right around the corner for you. She was put into a home because her Mummy and Daddy couldn’t handle her after that happened. She was just becoming even more worse. They put her in a home up the street from my school.
I was standing there with my hands like that there. Cuz I don’t like the sight of my own blood. And my whole face was covered in blood. You could not see one bit of my face... yeah she stabbed me there and she stabbed me there. I didn’t notice my neck at first but it was when her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s mate come back up they noticed it. And then they were, “Sara don’t look.” They gave me toilet paper; “Just keep that hold on your head.” My Daddy wasn’t going to phone, wasn’t going to get the police involved, but the hospital did. So the police came out to my house after I had got cleaned up and stitched up and all.
The police come out, took a statement and then it was like a big chaos trying to get the camera to work. Cuz first of all they had a camera and they had a spool and then the camera broke and then they had to get someone to come out with another camera. They took two pictures of my neck and then of my head. They had to take pictures of my back as well because I had all marks down my back. I don’t know what it was but she must have tried to paralyse me as well from the back. But the police took a statement, took pictures. I was sitting like this here like, “Wait until I fix me hair and all.”
Then they turned around and said no, “The worse you look the better it will be for you in court.” So they went up to her house and arrested her. Then she got out on parole. She got out on bail but she cut another wee girl in the throat, so she did. She was only, like, coming up for 15.
There was too much pressure on me at school. After that attack happened I was gettin’ bullied. I was gettin’ slagged. They were actually having elastic bands and putting paper on them and pinging them into the back of my legs…it was just constant bullying. It just got far too much and I couldn’t cope no more. And I just left, after Christmas time. Me Daddy wouldn’t move me. I asked him a couple of times to move me. But he was like you just got a year and half left, just stick it out. I was like, Daddy I can’t, I can’t stick it out, so I just left.
I went for a job interview at Burger King and I got a job there. I moved to Scotland on my own. To get my own independence. When I first moved over to Scotland I moved in with me Auntie and then I got a job in Burger King. Yeah, I got paid every two weeks. I was coming out of work with a good bit of money every fortnight and she kept taking every bit of money off me. Sometimes she would leave me with 20 pound or 40 pound and I would put money on my bus pass to get home from work. She didn’t leave me money for toiletries, for women’s needs or nothin’ she took it all. But I eventually moved out of her house…
I was in work nearly about every day. At the time we were short staffed so I was in there every day on the tills on my own, serving customers being busy. ‘Cos it was normally busy. So I was walking out of work with 600 pound every two weeks, that is with tax took off. I was on the lowest wage and I was coming out with more money than the manager was coming out with.
And then because sometimes I wouldn’t finish ‘till 11 o’clock at night and my bed and breakfast locked at 11 o’clock at night sometimes I was missing out. And because I was a worker I should have got an actual front door key. I never had the front door key and he wouldn’t give me one. So my Bed and Breakfast, the house was going to move me into a hostel. I went to see it and it was a mess and the dirt was like that thick. There was nothing there it was a real complete mess. So my friend let me move in with her. That was one of my manager’s sisters, she was the same age as me, she had a kid. So I moved in with her. And then I hit the drink really bad, then I quit me job. Then I got into the drink that bad.... she had postnatal depression ‘cos she had a kid, so she had to move back in with her Mummy and Daddy.
The baby was alright. Then I moved out of her house into a hostel. And then I bumped in to a guy called Steven at the time, I went with him for a wee while and then I bumped into a guy called Mark. And then he actually moved over here with me. ‘Cos like when I was still going with Steven I overdosed over in Scotland because everything was getting too much for me. So I took what was it… 36-tab paracetamol at once and ended up in hospital over night. Then me Daddy came over like a week or so later and took me back.
Mark and I weren’t right for each other and I ended up breaking it off. I broke it off once and we got back. He was in hospital because he had something wrong with his stomach, he had pains in his stomach. And he had an argument with his Mummy on the phone because he moved over here with me and because he was in a bad mood with his Mummy so he proposed to me in the hospital. He got on one knee in the hospital, all the beds were full, and it was a plastic ring as well. But then eventually when he got paid he went out and got me another ring, a proper ring but then I broke up with him and he took the ring back.
Sometimes, during the week it can be o.k. and when it comes the weekend I am like la la la, I feel like really depressed and all. I was taking Fluxadine 20 mg. I don’t know because I was just…I stopped taking them anyway they weren’t giving me that there wee boost any more. I have not been taking them in about a month. No I have tried to, all the times it has been with tablets, I have never tried to like cut my wrists or nothin’, apart from the time when I burnt my wrists. Yeah I done it with me straighteners.
You know that there Lifeline, I had a counsellor from there but he wasn’t working out so good, and I had Quakers.
Mummy was going through a difficult time as well because she got the kids took off her because there was rumours going around the Shankhill Road that Mummy was neglecting the kids. Emotional neglect and all that there. So she got the kids took off her. She has got the kids now in the assessment centre and hopefully they are going to all move back together.
No, Mummy was doing fine. It might have been a wee bit rough you know, trying to get the kids to bed and all that there, and they wouldn’t go and trying to get Richard with his tantrums. My wee brother Richard he is disabled…and if he doesn’t get what he wants he bangs his head off the floors and the walls and the glass and anything he can find and if he can’t…hes got a speech problem…and if you can’t understand what he is saying at the time he would sit and lost his temper as well. But his speech is coming on really good now. He is not doing his tantrums as much but he is still doing it. If he doesn’t get what he wants he throws himself back off the table or the floor or whatever, he’s got a special helmet but it is hard to get it on him, ‘cos he throws as schizo….
He was born three months premature and they took him off his oxygen an hour after he was born. And they put too much caffeine into him as well when he was first born and it mucked his head up and his growing and all.
Even if people say don’t live in the past, live in the present it is hard for me not to do that because there is so much that happened. It is not easy for me to try and just don’t think about it, when clearly I have to think about it. What me and my psychologist try to work on is trying to get, you know a library…put all the pieces into order, like all the books in order.... filing cabinets, filing them in, so that is what we worked on, but sometimes now and again it pops out.
I get DLA for PTSD, it is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, that is what my psychologist had put it under. I get a high rate of DLA for it and I just got paid for that, it was just under 300 pound.
I don’t know who I am Well I am going on the drink tonight. I plan to get smashed tonight.
I will be fine, its just in the house, it will be safe. I don’t get hangovers.