Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

Amanda

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Amanda says of her family life: ‘Everything was about pleasing daddy.’

There were sexualised and controlling relationships between her father and his wife and children, who were encouraged to compete for his favour and attention. She believes this dynamic made her vulnerable to sexual abuse in the residential school she attended.

Amanda describes how her mother dressed her and sibling provocatively and ‘paraded us’ in front of their father for his approval. Her mother would tell them they had to ‘suffer to be beautiful’, for example when their hair was being brushed and painfully pulled. Her father sexualised and played power games with his children, watching them when they were naked. He did not allow them to see him unclothed.

She says although he never physically abused them she felt his behaviour was mildly sexually abusive. At school she used to dress provocatively, as far as uniform regulations allowed.

Amanda had individual tutoring for university entrance exams in the school. Her father arranged this despite the school’s view that she lacked the academic ability to pass.

One day the teacher invited her to his home to babysit. When she arrived, he ran a bath and got in it and Amanda got in too. After this, he put her in a towel, took her to the bed and had sex with her. She says she froze.

She has blocked out most of that time from her memory but believes she was sexually abused on several occasions. She remembers once asking the perpetrator what they were doing, and he told her he was ‘teaching her to love’.

The teacher told Amanda to keep quiet about the abuse and bought her presents. She says: ‘It was like he was paying me for something.’ She didn’t pass her exams; she recalls that she was in turmoil and couldn’t write a thing.

When she returned home she told her parents what had happened, but they swiftly swept it under the carpet. Her father told her it wasn’t worth ruining the teacher’s career over. She says he seemed almost happy it had happened, suggesting she consented and saying she should be pleased she was attractive enough that someone wanted to do this.

Some time later Amanda’s friend came to realise that Amanda had been abused by the perpetrator. It emerged that Amanda’s friend had been having what she understood to be a consensual relationship with the perpetrator since she was 16. He had groomed her for a couple of years previously and had told her he loved her.

After the Jimmy Savile case came to public attention and she discovered her teacher was still teaching, Amanda and her friend reported him to the police. She also spoke to the school’s headmaster about him. The police questioned the teacher and fed back that he stated his relationships with these now adult women had been entirely consensual.

Amanda says the teacher was allowed to retire from the school and is currently involved in a church. She feels a written exchange with the headmaster was unsatisfactory as it seemed he was trying to cover up the sexual abuse.

He stated the school had implemented safeguarding procedures since Amanda was at school and that her objective when reporting this – presumed to be the removal of the teacher – had been achieved.

Amanda says her intention had been to prevent other young women being sexually abused and she does not think he had been exposed sufficiently at all.

Amanda finds it difficult to understand what impact the sexual abuse has had on her life. She says she feels it was part of who she was, and that her father’s behaviour made her vulnerable.

Amanda now has children of her own and they have been supportive of her taking action against child sexual abuse. She would value the opportunity to meet with the perpetrator and receive an apology. She believes there should be more education in schools on consent and healthy relationships.

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