I can’t turn the clock back but now I can cope with it.
Don’t wait like I did for 25 years to get help. Don’t be ashamed. Whether it is from specialist organisations or personal friends – you can get help.
I was sexually abused at 12 yrs old by a family ‘friend’. My Mum and Dad were seldom at home. They were concerned with making ends meet and my younger sister had very severe health issues.
The guy involved groomed me little by little and eventually he touched me intimately. I was so confused.
The first time I ejaculated, I was so naïve I thought I had wet myself. The abuse continued for about 18 months.
In the end, I had the strength and presence of mind, to make sure he didn’t have access to me. My parents still suspected nothing.
At 15, I left school and started work. I also left home. It was very tough. My parents opposed it but could not understand the reason why.
At 24, I married. I never mentioned what happened to me to my wife. I was still too ashamed. Later, I continued my education at the local Polytechnic and graduated.
Still, I was always haunted by what happened. Despite being married and having children of my own, I was still always convinced that it was my fault.
In 1991 things changed. I was then 38 and living in Leicester. There was a huge local scandal. Frank Beck, a prominent social worker was involved with many others in a widespread child abuse ring around the whole county. It was the first time I had heard the term ‘Child Abuse.’
I had a friend, Tim, who lived close by. One day we were out driving on a country road. He unexpectedly pulled into a lay-by. He was brave enough to say “I know there’s something really bothering you, but I don’t know what it is. Would it help to talk about it?”
For the first time, I confided in him. It was the first time I had admitted to anyone – even to myself – what had happened. “Wow” he said, “I wasn’t expecting that!”. Tim was so supportive and reassuring.
A while later, I had a very difficult day emotionally. Tim rang me in the evening to ask how I was. I told him. He suggested “why don’t you come over?” I was surprised because it was quite late but I did go. Tim let me in and made drinks for us. We talked for a while. “Feeling better?” he asked. When I said “Yes”, he responded with “Good!” and gave me a hug.
It was an important moment for me. I had been able to talk frankly and openly. I even had affectionate, physical contact with another man. Yet I knew I was secure and that there was no sexual context on either side. We could just enjoy each other’s company as good friends.
Shortly afterwards my work moved me to the south coast. I kept in touch with Tim for quite a long time, but sadly he was killed in a road accident. It was a great loss to me.
After a while, I was referred to ‘Mankind UK’, a charity to help guys like me. I found it difficult to talk at first. My counsellor was of course a stranger. He was very kind but strict; strict in the sense that we had to be straight and honest with each other about thoughts and feelings. The sessions were great and motivating.
I have now come to terms as far as possible with what happened. I can’t turn the clock back but feel that I can now cope with it.
I learned Latin at school, so I created a motto for myself that I put on my office notice board to remind me: ’Quadratum rectea stabis’ –‘Stand up straight and square’, this has helped me through tough times.
What is my take away message? Don’t wait like I did for 25 years to get help. Don’t be ashamed. Whether it is from specialist organisations or personal friends – you can get help.
Be perceptive. You will intuitively know who can understand you and will help. They will help you to heal the wounds. You will feel better and be able to cope. You will be able to ’Quadratum rectea stabis’ –‘Stand up straight and square.’