Daily Telegraph: Why it’s so important for CSA survivors to be heard

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.


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.

One Reply to “Daily Telegraph: Why it’s so important for CSA survivors to be heard”

  1. As a male survivor I thank you for speaking out. I hope that you have not experienced a large amount of internal aftershocks from going public. I am 64, the abuse happened in 1957 by neighbors, and it devastated my life. I am sober from sex addiction 5 yrs. and 5 mos., attend Survivors of Incest Anonymous, and am going to Overeaters Anonymous, though as of yet have made little progress there. Am hoping to get a sponsor soon and get to work. Consider looking into cognitive therapy – we are using a workbook ( after the meeting ) based upon C.T. principles, and have found it helpful. I have FINALLY gotten thru the worst of the self-hatred and self-shaming about the incredible tenaciousness that I have shown in resisting recovery actions and principles: it helped tremendously when I talked a few weeks ago about the fact that what they did to me was monstrous, evil, wicked, something that I cannot imagine doing to a child of any age, yet alone one under 4. The shame over what they did to me was simple for me to overcome compared to the shame I so long experienced about my resistances to health and progress : very typical, actually, for one diagnosed with BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER. I am a failed minister, but now experiencing God’s goodness in the fellowship of other Christians. I am a failed husband, but my ex and I, while not close friends, have reconciled and pray for one another. My life has seen serious underperformance in almost every aspect of my life, but after 2 mental hospitalizations, about 6 hair-thin escapes from suicide ( as a male I would of course succeeded), and decades of addiction, I now accept being alive rather than bitterly hating the fact, am able to be of help to others, and see the possibility of one day cherishing life. If I may be of any help to you at all, please let me know. By the way, my heroes are my best friend of 25 yrs ( another survivor ), and Marilyn VanDerbur Atler, a survivor and former Miss America. We may or may not decide to correspond, and I might forget your name ( I forget easily), but will say a prayer for you after sending this. I am sorry that you too went thru this, but am glad that you are making progress.. May God truly bless you. Sincerely Yours, a brother in recovery.

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