Child abuse survivor calls for meeting to discuss banning lap dancing clubs in Sheffield
Brave child abuse survivor Sammy Woodhouse has called for a meeting with Sheffield Council bosses after launching a national campaign to ban lap dancing clubs.
In an emotive open letter Sammy, who was subjected to a decade of abuse by gang-leader Arshid Hussain as a teenager, said she got involved in the industry a the age of 18 and went on to work around the country for around nine years.
She said the industry was 'degrading, disrespectful and allowed women's vulnerabilities to be exploited' and called for it to be abolished 'or at least improve the industry'.
"When I was 18 years old I went to work in the lap dancing industry. I worked around the UK as a lap dancer for around nine years. I’d like to make clear that I was not forced to
work in clubs, it was my own choice," Sammy, 32, said.
"I had a low self-esteem and no respect for myself due to my abuse as a child. I thought at the time I was taking back control and empowering myself, I realise now that taking my clothes off for men’s sexual gratification isn't these things but in fact it is degrading, disrespectful and I'm worth much more and so are other women.
"Myself and others were treated very badly in the industry. I’ve never met a lap dancer that hasn't at some point in their life been abused mentally, sexually or physically and
that’s the reason why they are dancers. Their vulnerabilities allow them to become exploited."
Sammy said she had recently met the Home Office and Parliamentary under-Secretary of State for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism Victoria Atkins and said she'd like to meet Sheffield Council chiefs to discuss clubs in the city.
She added: "I feel that with the proliferation of lap dancing clubs it is accepted by society and the use of the women has become a very normalised yet unsafe industry. I believe if we work together we will have a strong chance of achieving my aims."
Hussain was jailed for 35 years in February 2016 after being found guilty of grooming, raping and sexually assaulting 15 teenage girls, including Sammy who bravely gave evidence at the trial.
His brothers Basharat, and Bannaras, 36, were jailed for 25 and 19 years.