Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

Ben

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

As a young boy, Ben loved his local church and joined the choir, often performing at concerts.

He thought the choirmaster, Robin, seemed like a ‘nice, modern chap’ and was pleased when Robin invited him to his home to see a train set.

On that first visit, the choirmaster sexually abused Ben. He continued to do this for the next few years at various locations, including the church.

Robin met and ‘won over’ Ben’s parents and on one occasion, he took Ben to his own parents’ house and abused him there.

Ben says he thought it was ‘normal’ but at the same time he did feel something was wrong.

He never told anyone about what was happening – he says he would not have known who to tell, or how to find the language to describe it.

Somehow, Ben says, as he became an adult he found a way of forgetting what had happened to him as a child and got on with his life. He married, had children and forged a successful career.

But many years later he saw a news item about sexual abuse in care homes and, a few days after, he received some childhood photos of himself through social media.

These two events triggered memories of his abuse and, concerned that Robin could still be abusing others, he contacted his local police force to report what had happened to him.

After interviewing Ben, the police contacted Robin, who had by then moved to a different part of the country. The Crown Prosecution Service put a case together and Robin pleaded guilty before the trial.

The judge commented that the abuse had happened a long time ago, before placing him on the Sex Offenders’ Register and giving him a fine.  Ben was disappointed in the outcome. He remembers thinking ‘I’ve had bigger parking fines.’

Ben recounts that he thought reporting his abuse would be the end of the matter, but instead it was the start of years of pain. He discovered that some people at the church knew of Robin’s abuse and another post in the same diocese.

He also discovered that his own parents had been aware what was happening and had asked a family member to tell Robin to ‘leave Ben alone’. 

This knowledge, coupled with memories of the abuse, prompted a severe psychological breakdown for Ben. He has had to take early retirement because of his fragile psychological state, although he is still active in his local community.

Ben reports that he feels better but still, he says ‘I’m a shell of the man I was … if you haven’t been through it, it’s very difficult to understand.’

Your privacy

There are very limited circumstances where we tell anyone your name without your consent, for example if a child is currently at risk and we need to tell the police.