Support: Why I want you to watch Three Girls

Over the last three nights there's been a drama on BBC1 called 'Three Girls'.



Three Girls tells the story of three of the children involved in the Rochdale paedophile grooming investigation. I wasn't sure whether to watch it, initially. Considering what we're going through at the moment it was quite possible it would set me off crying for a week, or in to deep depression. In the end though I did; I'm not entirely sure why, but mostly I think because it's important to face things head on. The girls were brave enough to tell their stories, and they deserve to be listened to.

I'm glad I watched it. I want you to watch it too. I want all my friends to watch it.

It's taken me a good hour mulling it over to work out why that is. At first I thought perhaps I wanted people to see what it was like to have a different life. If I'm really honest, I'm pretty jealous of most of my friends at the moment. I see my Facebook newsfeed full of everyday problems like being overworked, stuck in traffic, having a crap day, and I'm jealous. I'm jealous because I see people complaining about things in their life that are really crap, and I would give anything for that to be the extent of my worries. I'm jealous because I see babies being born who are going to be fed, and looked after. Babies who don't have to worry about who is going to look after them. Babies who almost certainly won't grow up needing to ask "Do you hurt?" when they meet their parents' friends for the first time.

It's a bit silly, and it's pointless feeling like that, but most days I do. It doesn't mean I love Tickle any less, but most days I wish our life wasn't like this. And I have a brilliant family, amazing friends, and a great support network; it doesn't bear thinking about for those who don't have those things.

But, much as there is an element of that - and I will admit sometimes I do want to shake a bit of graditude in to some people - I don't think that's the whole story.

Three Girls is hard to watch, I don't deny it. But it's my life. Different setting, different scenario, maybe, but same story. Battles with support services. Listening to tales of abuse, and feeling powerless. Court cases - not now, but likely in the future. That shot in episode three of the parents sitting outside the room as Holly gave evidence - that's going to be us. And my God, that talk of being a 'credible witness' really struck home. Tickle and his brother are not credible witnesses. Everybody knows what happened to them, and everybody knows who did it - but nothing can be done.

This is my life. It's fucking hard. And I think the reason I want you to watch Three Girls is because I want to know if you can take it. Asking for help is hard, and often I just don't do it because the stuff I am dealing with every day is stuff that people don't want to hear. Sometimes, I don't tell people things because they are not nice things to have in your brain. I have them, but you don't need to. If you watch Three Girls and don't like it, you can switch off. I can't. Those girls couldn't. Tickle can't.

I think what I really want to know is this: when you say you want to support me, how far will you go? Will you make us a meal? (Don't get me wrong, that is always awesome!) Will you come out with me and the kids for a day in the holidays? Will you wait for us outside court? Will you take me out for hot chocolate after I've taken Tickle to the Police Station again? Will you be there for the really hard stuff? Can you take it?

I realise, that for some people the answer is going to be no. And that's fine - I can't ask you to give more than you have available. I just need to know, so I don't try to lean on someone who then backs away.

And I think *that* is why I want you to watch Three Girls. Because it's a powerful piece of television. Because it's very well done. Because those girls deserve to be listened to. Because this is still happening. And because if you can sit through it, from start to finish, then maybe that will give me the confidence to feel there are other people out there who can take it. Maybe I can start to lean a bit.

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