News on stage: A live performance of my story

I was really pleased to take part in a slightly unusual event this week, Up and Coming Stories, a live journalism production held virtually by City University.

The event was organised in conjunction with News on Stage, a joint project between City’s journalism department and Nottingham Trent University, which is investigating the power of journalism, theatre and the public sphere.

I was initially unsure what reporting would look like in a dramatic setting, but as soon as I joined rehearsals it became clear that those involved had put together something really special.

It also gave me the chance to work again with Pablo Iglesias, who recently graduated from City and whose award-winning final project featured a video interview detailing some of my experiences with childhood sexual abuse.

Pablo and I were reunited to recreate this interview over Zoom, before the audience were invited ask questions about my story and the process of sharing it with a reporter.

Below is a copy of that recreated interview, the video element of which begins after a short audio introduction (around 50 seconds in).

The blindfold around child sexual abuse

I’m really proud to have taken part in a multimedia journalism project by up-and-coming reporter Pablo Iglesias, who is about to complete his undergraduate studies at City University.

Pablo was a great interviewer who immediately put me at ease, both in our private conversations and whilst in front of the camera.

The piece that he produced is particularly impressive given that Pablo is still a student, with the finished article something that any journo worth their salt would be very pleased with.

Required to Report: Why we need Mandatory Reporting

It’s great to have been part of budding journalist Megan Hinton’s new radio documentary ‘Required to Report’, which explores the subject of Mandatory Reporting.

Mandatory Reporting calls for the introduction of new laws that many survivors of childhood sexual abuse, including myself, could have benefited from.

When Megan was 14, she was tricked into sending a naked selfie to, what she believed at the time was, a boy in the year above her.

To her horror, she found out that this was in fact a girl in her own year group, who shared the picture with other pupils.

Megan had already left a previous school over bullying and found history repeating itself, with pupils making her life a living hell, yet teachers at her school failed to take her complaints about their behaviour seriously.

Since that time, Megan has campaigned to raise awareness around a number of issues that have affected her and other vulnerable youngsters, including ‘sexting’.

When she asked me to take part in her latest project, a documentary on the debate around Mandatory Reporting in the UK, I was happy to get involved.

Mandatory Reporting laws would make it compulsory for staff who work in ‘regulated activities’ – including teachers, healthcare professionals and other responsible adults – to report known or suspected abuse of children to the local authority.

Most people, including myself until relatively recently, assume that these kinds of laws already exist, but the crucial decision over whether to report sexual and physical abuse, or neglect, is left down to the individual.

Despite the courage of some whistle-blowers who have come forward over the years, subsequent failures in institutional settings have made it apparent that, when left to the individual, failures happen all too often.

Mandatory Reporting would put in place a structured process for reporting suspicions or knowledge of abuse taking place, so that the decision is taken out of the hands of members of staff.

More importantly, it offers them legal protection from any potential ramifications of passing on what they know.

Why young people should speak out about abuse

I’m delighted to have recorded a short film with the charity Fixers, which details some of my experiences with childhood sexual abuse.

Fixer encourages young people to use their past to fix the future, so it was particularly flattering to be asked to film this, despite being the wrong side of 30.

The record went well, even though I was losing my voice to a nasty cold, and I hope that my story helps other survivors to find the courage to come forward and tell their own.

Sex abuse survivor tells story in bid to encourage others

BBC video journalist Samantha Everett today published a recorded interview detailing my experiences with sexual abuse as a child, as well as my thoughts and feelings on the first anniversary of the conviction of the man who abused me.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sam and her team, who were extremely professional in their handling of the subject and who have, I feel, produced incredibly emotive footage about my story.

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.

Finding My Voice: My Story Finally Told

I received an email this morning from a journalist I’ve been working with for several months.

He told me that the piece he has been writing about my search for justice was finally cleared for publication.

Mark Edwards, the reporter who’s been covering my case, has done a brilliant job in putting it together and I feel like his article should speak for itself.

So rather than repeat its contents in full, I thought I would reflect on what today means for me.

Today marks the accomplishment of a big part of what motivated me to speak out.

By publishing this article, Mark has helped me to warn others in the area about Neil Day, the man who abused me.

Scroll down for video

Neil Day, the man who abused me, outside Guildford Crown Court

Perhaps, in time, it will emerge that there are others he targeted.

If so, it’s my hope that by reading my story they too will find the courage that I know they have within themselves to tell their own.

No child should have to experience what Day put me through, even once.

My biggest regret, should it turn out that he did abuse others, will be that I didn’t say anything sooner but the blame will still remain firmly with him.

More widely, I hope that anyone who has been abused – by anyone and at any time –  will speak out straight away.

Me at around the age the abuse happened

It’s been a long road to get to this point and today feels like the closing of an act in the story of my life.

There have been notable chapters along the way, many of them filled with pain, anger, resentment, self-loathing, shame and negativity, but many that have made up for all that.

Those emotions and thoughts will always be there buried away, simmering under the surface.

After the euphoric high of giving evidence, of finally standing up and being heard, reality has begun to creep back into my life.

In the past week, unwanted emotions have made themselves known again and I could easily despair. But I don’t and I won’t.

The next act may not be easy, life never is, but I have a feeling that with hard work, determination and – most importantly – by nurturing myself and not giving in to the easy road of negativity, things are going to get better.