‘I was 15 when I became pregnant from rape. This is my story’

This article references grooming, domestic abuse, and rape.

“I didn’t recognise what he was doing to me was abuse; I saw him as my boyfriend,” Sammy Woodhouse tells GLAMOUR. She was 14 years old when she met Arshid Hussain, ten years her senior, who groomed her and abused her mentally, physically, and sexually over the course of two years.

While Hussain was married with children, Sammy was missing from home for months at a time, as he kept her hidden in flats, hotels, and even his family home. He became “very controlling, possessive, and violent” towards her.

Although she couldn’t have known it at the time, Sammy was a victim of what would later become known as the Rotherham child exploitation scandal, in which approximately 1,400 children were estimated to have been abused, with local authorities being heavily criticised for their repeated failures to act on reports of abuse.

At the age of 14, Sammy became pregnant and had an abortion. She became pregnant again at 15 years old, giving birth to her son at the age of 16. “I loved my son very much from the moment he was born,” she tells GLAMOUR.

16-year-old Sammy Woodhouse with her son after giving birth.

The government has announced that children conceived as a result of rape in England and Wales will be recognised as victims of crime in their own right. The plans follow a review commissioned by the Centre for Women’s Justice, which found that between 2,080 and 3,356 children could have been conceived in rape within a single year (2021) in England and Wales alone.

The evidence review also highlighted that children born as a result of rape are at an increased risk of “suffering serious and long-term harm due to the distressing circumstances of their birth.” The mothers may feel reminded of their ordeal by their child, which can “profoundly negatively affect a child’s development and educational outcomes, as well as his/her wellbeing in adulthood.”