ABUSE survivor and women’s rights campaigner Sammy Woodhouse is now helping to shape a college’s curriculum.
Sammy’s autobiography, Just a Child, which details her years of abuse at the hands of serial child rapist Arshid Hussain, is being studied by students at Barnsley College.
Around 100 students from the service industries (hair & beauty and catering) department and childcare course have studied Sammy’s book as part of their English GCSE course.
They also got to meet the author after she visited the college to talk about child sexual exploitation (pictured).
Gareth Stewart, enterprise team leader at Barnsley College, said Sammy’s “hard-hitting” talk about her experiences and campaign work had been “fantastically received”.
He said the students had gone on to read Just a Child as part of their work looking at how women have been treated throughout history and Sammy was now being studied alongside esteemed authors who had also written about crime and punishment.
“Using a current, relevant book like Sammy’s has made the students really engage in the topic,” said Mr Stewart.
“We want to give students the urge to pick up the book and read it rather than just reading the old set texts.
“Giving them something like this, really current, is fantastic for them.”
After reading historical texts about how women were treated and viewed in Victorian times, the students compared it to how women were treated in today’s society.
Mr Stewart said Sammy’s visit had also encouraged students to talk about things happening in their personal lives.
“A lot of staff also said that all of our students needed to hear Sammy’s story and see that you can overcome adversity,” he said.
“We have a lot of students who will have problems and difficulties in their home lives.
“Having someone like Sammy come in and talk about having this horrible thing happen but showing that she’s now in a really good place and people are listening to her is great.”