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Experiences Shared

Dafydd

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Dafydd grew up in a violent household where his father would regularly beat him.

He was raped by a man known to the family. The difficulties and obstructions he has faced trying to get justice for what happened to him has added greatly to his frustration and anger.

Dafydd says his father treated him harshly, but favoured his brother. His father also had affairs with women he worked with.

He and his brother were raped by a man who was the father of another child they knew. The abuser lured the boys into the toilet with the promise of a ‘rare and special coin’. Dafydd says he didn’t tell his father because he knew he would have reacted with anger and asked what he was doing there in the first place.

Dafydd explains that he has frequently been involved with the police and this began in his early years. He describes how, in the town where he grew up, he and other children who were also abused by the same man, would often be running away from him. The police would give chase, round them up, ‘give us a thrashing and take us home where we’d get another thrashing’.

He said at first this was ‘almost like a game’ but as he got older, he began to ‘kick back’ when the police were aggressive towards him and they started to charge him. From then on, he says, he was ‘in and out of prison cells’ before he was even a teenager. He was expelled from school and sent to a corrective institution.

 

Dafydd eventually reported the rape many years later, after he had a nervous breakdown. He had smashed up his house and cut his wrists and says his wife ‘came out with it in front of my parents … it all spilled out then … everything that was happening was because of my experiences when I was young’.

His father’s reaction to learning that his son had been raped was to say he didn’t want the information to ‘get out’. Dafydd says he was wrongly imprisoned for a crime shortly after this and the police took no action about his report.

Following this, Dafydd moved overseas, excited about a ‘fresh start’. However, he says, he took his problems with him and was again sentenced to imprisonment. Here, he took the opportunity to learn about the law and compile extensive information about the case against his abuser and the acts he’d been prosecuted for himself, to prove his innocence.

After the revelations about sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile, Dafydd decided to report the abuser to the police again. This time the case went to court. The perpetrator pleaded guilty and was charged with sexual assault, but not rape, of Dafydd.

Dafydd feels strongly that the case was poorly handled in many ways: he was not offered the opportunity to make a victim impact statement and he was seated next to the perpetrator in the court waiting room. The abuser was sentenced to five years in prison and released early.

Dafydd feels the sentence was lenient because the perpetrator pleaded guilty, had sought counselling regarding his offences, and the offences were deemed ‘historical’. He tried to appeal the sentence and feels he encountered a lack of transparency in the system.

He reflects on the unfairness of a system that lets a perpetrator receive a lighter sentence for ‘getting help’, when there is a lack of support for victims, who have a lifetime sentence.

Dafydd says he was further wronged because he was awarded compensation for sexual assault, not rape. He took out a civil case against the perpetrator for damages.

He describes the continuing effects of the sexual assault when he was a child. He feels afraid when he goes out, he experiences flashbacks and extreme sleep disturbance. He has had problems with alcohol and drug abuse and has attempted suicide. He says he can be ‘triggered by the smallest thing’ and would not be able to cope were it not for his current partner.

Dafydd feels that his anger and frustration consumes his life and is now directed more at the system than the perpetrator. He believes that the system is corrupt and not created to support victims. He has a large volume of papers that relate to his struggle for justice. He says that much as he would like to burn it all one day, he can’t give up the fight for justice just yet.

 

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