"I want to help others affected by addiction and prostitution"
Prisoners’ Education Trust recently funded Robyn to study a degree Access Course, here she tells her story about why she is motivated to learn and why she needed our help:
"Hello, my name is Robyn and I am 27 years old. I have three children aged nine, six and four. I have been in prison for nine months now and I have three and a half years left to serve, and I have come to a point in my life where I have realised that things, and myself, have got to change.
I got on heroin and crack cocaine when I was just 13 years of age and I have been through ordeal after ordeal in my ‘drug life’, and finally it has ended up in me receiving a seven year sentence and being away from my three beautiful children.
I left school when I was 12 years old with little qualifications but I went to a PRV school for six months when I was 14 and I gained a few certificates. I ended up going into prostitution aged just 14, which I did most of my addicted life. During this time I got raped and beaten on various occasions.
At the age of 16 I became pregnant with my eldest son to my long-term boyfriend, who left me eight and a half months pregnant, alone and homeless! I didn’t know what to do and shortly after my son was born I ended up in a mother and baby unit at a mental health hospital. I was diagnosed with bi-polar affective disorder whilst there and put on appropriate medication, but shortly after I got discharged I relapsed back on to the drugs. My life was in utter chaos.
So years went by with my acute addiction, prostitution, attack, rapes, my bipolar, and trying to raise my son as best as I could and trying my hardest not to expose him to everything. Then came my second son and I carried on trudging and trying my best to bring up my boys, but things kept spiralling out of control.
Crime came along and I never looked back. I became so angry towards men and the pain they had caused that I started to rob my clients.
I would take their money and then get my partner to come in and tell them to leave. I made a lot of money doing this and bought my children everything their hearts desired, thinking (unbelievably) that I was doing the right thing.
Then my beautiful daughter arrived. Severe arguments began with my then partner, and then the drink and drug-fuelled violence – which went both ways. I got arrested over and over again because of these robberies. Then one night, whilst drunk, my partner and I went to a client’s house with the intention of blagging some money from him for gas and electricity, but things between my partner and the client got very violent and my partner robbed him. We were arrested the next day and both pleaded guilty straight away. We were sentenced to ten years with a third taken off for our early guilty pleas.
I have lost my most treasured possessions, my three children. They are all without their mummy for three and a half years and we are all devastated.
I have remained clean throughout my sentence and I am completely determined to stay clean and to better myself and the lives of my children - but in the right way this time.
I have always wanted to, one day, educate myself and I was always upset that I never got a chance to go to university. Above all, I always wanted to get a good job and provide for my children, I just didn’t think it was possible.
I have now realised that I want to use my experiences to help others in active addiction and for those involved in or at risk of becoming involved in prostitution. I believe I have a lot to give others. I am intelligent; caring, loving, patient and kind, I really want to give others an insight into my life and how bad the lifestyle really is and how everyone can succeed if they put the effort in and learn to educate themselves - which is exactly what I desperately want to do.
I need to educate myself in order to get the qualifications necessary to go on to do drug work or counselling for those affected by addiction and prostitution, as it’s these very people who have helped me and believed in me, showing me that life can be good if you put the effort in.
There are no short cuts to where I want to get to - it’s all education, education, education. The Access Course I need to do to enable me to go on to get a degree is called People, Work and Society. I then want to go on to get a BA (Hons) degree in Criminology and Social Policy. This is the degree I will need to enable me to work as a drug and support worker so that I can help others.
By doing all of this I will, as I keep saying, help people, and of course continue to help myself; but, most of all, I will make my children proud of me and get them back and be able to really provide for them in a legal, moral way which is my ultimate goal.
I will put in all the hard work needed to succeed and complete my course with flying colours.
This course is something I will not be able to afford as I have left prostitution behind me forever, along with crime and drugs, so please fund this course for me and I will not let you down, I promise. Please help me to help myself and my children.
The qualifications I already have are Level 2 in English, Level 2 in Maths, Level 1 in Hair and Beauty, Level 1 in Active I.Q. I’ve also completed various accredited courses in drugs and alcohol, in abstinence and in ‘Building Skills for Recovery’ which are all cognitive behavioural therapies too, so I have some, albeit little experience of drugs awareness courses, which is the area I would love to work on when I have earned my degree.
I have the life experience and the sheer determination to really succeed and to make a difference to people’s lives. If you help me I will go on to help a lot of other people - and of course my children. I have a desire to succeed that is ferocious; all I need is your help.
Thanks, yours faithfully,
PLEASE NOTE - These stock images are not of Robyn.