The Daily Telegraph’s Thinking Man section has today published a first person account of my experience’s with abuse.
I have included excerpts below but would encourage you to visit their site for the full article.
I had always known what happened to me as a child. I was eight when the abuse finally stopped but I had vivid dreams reliving the experiences for years. When I realised their significance at 15 they quickly turned to nightmares, turning my life upside down. Now, at 32, I have secured the conviction of the man responsible and finally found some measure of peace. By telling my story, I hope to help other survivors do the same.
It happened on weekend visits to a relative’s house during the early 1990s. The woman, who I called ‘auntie’, made sugar mice as treats for me. Her adoptive son Neil, an overweight, moustachioed man then in his mid-twenties, would withhold the sweets and use them to entice me to perform sexual acts on him, as well as keeping quiet about the assaults he would carry out on me, behaviour we would today label ‘grooming’.
The abuse occurred on multiple occasions over a period of a few years. For a long time I told myself, ‘it wasn’t that bad, other people have been through far worse’. What is important to me, more than any salacious details, is the profound devastation it caused.
I strongly believe that, as survivors, the more we are heard, believed and understood, the less power there is for abusers to stifle and coerce potential victims. We need to be sending the message to people who have survived abuse that they aren’t alone and are not damaged, disturbed or in any way abnormal.
Nothing will ever take away what has happened to us and I will forever have to fight the urge to spiral down into the well of negative feelings and thoughts abuse has left me with, but while the war may continue a defining battle for me has been won.
Neil Day of Park Lane in Ropley, Hampshire, was found guilty of six counts of gross indecency with a child and one count of indecent assault against a child at Guildford Crown Court in January. He previously pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing indecent images of children uncovered during his arrest.