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Experiences Shared

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The‌ ‌Inquiry‌ ‌has‌ ‌taken‌ ‌the‌ ‌difficult decision‌‌ to‌ ‌stop‌ holding face to face Truth Project sessions‌ ‌at‌ ‌this‌ ‌time, after carefully considering the Government's guidance. Other methods of sharing are still available.


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Although his parents split up, Bryn describes his childhood as happy. But sexual abuse by a cadet leader altered the course of his life.

Bryn was the youngest of three children. His mother was in her early 20s when his father left the family. Bryn missed him, but soon after, his mother got a new partner, and Bryn says he could not have asked for a better stepfather. He was also close to his grandfather.

Bryn attended a comprehensive school and says he was doing fairly well. He decided he wanted to join the army cadets but the family did not have much money and he could not afford the boots. His aunt offered to buy them, saying to him ‘Don’t let me down – don’t give up on what you are doing’.

At cadets, Sgt Major A asked Bryn if he would be interested in some cleaning work in the hall. He told Bryn that other boys would also be there working, but when Bryn arrived on a Saturday, only the sergeant major was there.

After Bryn finished cleaning the sergeant major plied him with alcohol and then sexually abused him, kissing him and fondling his genital area. Bryn describes how he froze; he was in a state of shock and could not move.

The abuse continued about once a week, for three to four months. Bryn describes his distress and confusion, because the abuse was arousing him but he knew he definitely did not want it to happen. He was 11 years old, had not started puberty and had no knowledge of sex.

On another occasion Sgt Major A asked Bryn to help clean the cellar in the hall. Bryn reluctantly agreed. When the work was done, he was dirty and the sergeant major insisted he had a shower. Bryn says this was ‘game over’, he then raped Bryn in the shower.

The following week, Bryn refused to go to cadets. He says his parents ‘hit the roof’, angry that he had started something and not finished it, but he could not tell them what had happened.

Bryn had attended cadets with three other boys from his school, and he discovered that Sgt Major A had also tried to abuse one of them. He encouraged this boy to tell the headmaster. The headmaster brought the police in and the sergeant major was dealt with under military processes.

Bryn was interviewed by CID officers at home in front of his parents, but he was not given any support or counselling.

Although the abuse had ended, the confusion Bryn felt continued to cause him unhappiness and difficulties. He says that as a teenager, he kept questioning the fact that he had got aroused during the abuse. His school work went downhill. He did not study and he rebelled. He felt he was a ‘thug'.

Ever since, Bryn says that he has been in trouble. When he received a custodial sentence he felt it was almost destined that he would end up in prison.

During the sentencing, in mitigation Bryn’s legal team explained that he had been abused as a child. The judge responded ‘Don’t you think at your age, you should be old enough to have dealt with that?’

Bryn says he has never forgotten how uncaring and unkind he found this comment.

He decided he needed and deserved to receive the support that was not provided when he was a child. His accessed counselling through the probation service and describes it as ‘brilliant’ – ‘the breakthrough moment’ for him. He has not been in trouble again since his release from prison nearly 20 years ago.

Bryn now feels he is a different person with a good life ahead of him. He says he is happy and that the counselling changed his life.

He hopes that every child who is sexually abused is offered the right counselling or support as soon as possible, as it is so very important.

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