• David Dinsmore, consider why people don’t read The Sun…

    Dear David Dinsmore,

    We just wanted to say hello and to share a story with you.

    It’s not an easy story to read, we warn you. But we feel it’s an important one to share.

    We’ve noticed that quite often you appear to dismiss the campaign because ‘none of the people campaigning read the Sun’.

    Please consider that the vast majority of our supporters, and the team, have experiences from growing up with the Sun and being around it, and it’s these experiences that have caused us to make the decision not to buy it and to campaign against Page 3.

    We ask you to try to understand that many of these people have stories such as the one you are about to read.

    Of course they don’t buy the Sun. We’re sure you wouldn’t expect them to.

     

    TRIGGER WARNING: this story contains details of grooming and sexual abuse

    I got breasts at 10, that’s the final year of junior school, while you’re all still changing for PE with girls and boys together in the cloakroom. I was the 10 year old in a B cup bra. My name is Sam, and the favourite and most famous Page 3 girl of the time was Sam Fox. You can probably imagine the comments. Boys made giggling taunts about ‘Page 3′ as I changed for PE and lecherous fathers leered at me as I passed the school gates making remarks like “you could be on Page 3 too, with those”. Like it was all I could aspire to, all I was good for. Men would make comments as I walked home from school, some even yelled crude suggestions from their cars. Let me reiterate: I was 10.

    It was as if developing breasts was the universal indicator to the Sun-reading public that I was ‘up for it’ regardless of my chronological or emotional age, or my actual somewhat confused understanding of what sex was.

    That was certainly the view of my grandfather who began abusing me at this age. Beginning with my breasts, because they were “just as good as Page 3, and look, that girl isn’t making a fuss about showing them off” and she wasn’t, was she? And it felt like everyone thought that my breasts should be showed off like that, because they were all saying the same thing. The wider context of my experiences in school and at the school gates, being brought up with Page 3 at the breakfast table every morning, it all seemed to confirm what my grandfather was saying. I had breasts and he had a right to see them, play with them and eventually invade the rest of my body, because, it seemed obvious from the attitudes around me, by growing breasts I was now ‘ready’, it was, my grandfather explained, a sign I was a ‘big girl’ now. It didn’t matter that I was still hairless, hipless, and hadn’t begun menstruating, it didn’t matter that I was only just past my 11th birthday by then. I had breasts and I was expected to have sex, and I was expected to like it, and not tell anyone, because that was how it worked, the Page 3 girl doesn’t say anything. My grandfather abused me for about 3-4 years, less towards the end as he became less agile and I got better at escaping him, and when he died I cried with relief. I tried all sorts of things to stop him and one of those was putting on weight. I felt that if I got really fat and unattractive he and all men would leave me alone. In The Sun, they were always very nasty about women they considered fat and unattractive and I thought that would be safer. It was and it wasn’t. My bust was always bigger, out of proportion with the rest of me, so men would insult and grope me at the same time. Like the uninvited groping isn’t insulting enough. I couldn’t win.

    Please don’t ever tell me that Page 3 is just a piece of ‘harmless fun’: Page 3 groomed me. It prepared me for my grandfather’s abuse. It and the attitudes it engendered in the children and adults around me prepared the way for a 72 year old to force an 11 year old to have sex with him and convince her that this was ‘normal big girl stuff’. A national newspaper that everyone I knew read – all the adults who I had to respect and obey – this newspaper made by people so far above me, so gilded in authority to my child’s mind, had given an example of what women with big breasts were supposed to be like and everyone seemed to agree that I had to be like that. Page 3 was my grandfather’s authority and evidence: “Look at her, she isn’t crying, she isn’t making a fuss, this is how big girls should behave, it wouldn’t be in the paper if it weren’t true”.

    This story was submitted to the website Page 3 Stories.
    ‘This website was created by a supporter of the No More Page 3 campaign to show that rather than being a bit of harmless fun, the reality is different and Page 3 directly, demonstrably, causes harm to women and girls.’

10 Comments

  1. Lorna Tenconi says: February 12, 2014 at 4:53 pmReply

    If the Sun editor can read this and do nothing then he has no heart. If he can then look at his mother, sisters, wife, daughters, nieces or any orher woman he loves and not feel seeped in shame then he can’t be human! I am sitting on the piccadilly line, tears streaming down my face for this poor little girl.

  2. Pinkoddy says: February 12, 2014 at 5:02 pmReply

    I just wanted to say well done to the brave supporter for telling her story, I know it must not have been an easy one to share. I hope it makes him listen.

  3. Beatrice Pearce says: February 12, 2014 at 6:07 pmReply

    Shame on the Sun newspaper, anyone who buys it, anyone who condones it, anyone who reads it. It’s a disgrace.

  4. cathy says: February 12, 2014 at 6:58 pmReply

    If the Sun or any of its editors, past or present, had consciences page 3 would have gone long ago. From the utter horror that poor girl had to suffer through to the more mundane daily workplace comments and comparisons that far more of us had to suffer because of page 3 – it has caused nothing but misery to countless women. Its demise is long overdue, but remember this is the Sun. Do they actually care about anything?

    And one point is glaringly obvious, a hell of a lot of us supporting the no more page 3 campaign are doing so because of experiences of the Sun. Those negative experiences need the oxygen of publicity to ensure advertisers that might have consciences and any others tempted to make deals with the Sun (like O2) think twice. Make clear what a toxic brand it is.

  5. Chloe says: February 12, 2014 at 8:25 pmReply

    Hi, I just wanted to say that this story really got to me. This is completely horrible and disgusting and no one, no matter what gender, race, age, sexual orientation, ect. should have to go through what this girl went through. That is utterly not acceptable in any way, shape, or form and if Dinsmore reads this and does not respond or react at all then I really think this country is in trouble. People everywhere are saying that we are so equal now and there is barely any sexism- these people are BLIND. This is so toxic…I feel I have no words…I honestly have nothing but sympathy for this girl and her family, and any other girl who has been through a similar experience. Inequality is NOT over, the war is NOT won. But it will be.

  6. E Parry says: February 13, 2014 at 1:11 pmReply

    Just want to say I’m one of many who’ve posted on http://www.page3stories.org – that website works for sobering reading. Harmless fun? I guess that’s what it is to the person abusing you, isn’t it?

  7. maureen says: February 13, 2014 at 4:02 pmReply

    OMG my heart goes out to that brave girl, I myself suffered abuse over page 3 growing up in a household full of men , please put a stop to this degrading of womem

  8. sean says: February 13, 2014 at 6:00 pmReply

    This is such a sad reality a press obsessed with sex and female nudity. I remember as a toddler being caught kissing the page 3 girls breasts and my parents trying to tell me off while laughing uncontrollably. I think the editor is powerless in this situation. These days editors ate merely acting editors at the whim of owners who are commercially (sex sells) minded. Take it to the top folks. My full support. Sharing now xx

  9. Samantha says: February 17, 2014 at 9:48 amReply

    I’m a Samantha too. I was called Samantha Fox growing up and was encouraged to go topless when I was 10 or 11. To sum it up I have had a very creepy and leered at childhood (I know other women who had similar childhoods). It definitely left its scars on me and affected my teenage years, and then my adulthood.

    I feel sorry for girls who develop early and then immediately turn into sex objects. Its disgusting! As a child I was told I’d have boobs like the page 3 models when I grow up. My reply was “I going to chop them off with a knife!” – thoughts of self mutilation at age 8 because I was scared of turning into a woman with boobs!?

    The Samantha in this story is a very brave woman. Well done for having the strength and passion to petition for this.

  10. Kerry says: February 18, 2014 at 9:16 amReply

    Sam thank you for sharing this and articulating so well exactly the harm page 3 does. I hope you have found peace and happiness in your life.

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