Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

Eliyahu

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Eliyahu and his brother grew up in a strict religious household with very violent and emotionally abusive parents who routinely dragged him by his hair and beat him.

This meant that when he was subjected to violence and sexual abuse by others, he was well into his adulthood before he realised this was not normal.

Eliyahu’s religious parents also issued verbal threats and abuse. He says this included ‘being told I was evil before I was born, God would punish me, the ground would swallow me up, the sky would fall down on me, God is punishing me and so on’.

He comments that although their spiritual leader was aware of the family's difficulties and staff at the religious school he attended noticed bruises on him, no action was taken, and the only concern seemed to be about his religious instruction.

Eliyahu’s family moved areas repeatedly. On one occasion he was befriended by a boy who attended a different secondary school but was the same age. This boy gave Eliyahu and his brother cigarettes then raped Eliyahu. Six days later the same boy tried to strangle him and beat him while Eliyahu’s brother watched. Eliyahu feels these incidents made him more vulnerable to other sexual abuse perpetrators.

Following another move, Eliyahu and his brother were targeted by a group of young men. He remembers that ‘they followed and bullied ... forced us to have sex with each other and then set us alight with lighter fuel ... I find this hard to come to terms with because of the incest aspect.’ But, he adds, ‘I thought it was normal, having had parents that pulled me around by my hair, a school where boys were “slippered” in their swimming trunks and a mother that would fall on the floor screaming and being suicidal.’

 The family moved once again when Eliyahu was in his late teens and he and his brother met a ‘very strange’ man called Stuart. They stopped to talk to him on a few occasions and this led to physical and sexual abuse by Stuart and another man.

Eliyahu decided to report the abuse he had experienced to the police in March 2017. He found details of the boy who raped him through Facebook and gave a video statement about him and two other perpetrators that terrorised him and his brother. 

One of these two was interviewed by the police but the Crown Prosecution Service did not proceed with a prosecution.

He withdrew his support for the other case three weeks before contacting the Truth Project. He says he feels guilty about this but the two were linked to local gangs and he fears for his safety. He would like the police to look further into the perpetrators, but they say they are too busy.

Eliyahu says that he feels more anger toward his religious community than the perpetrators because they ‘turned a blind eye and wilfully ignored’ the abuse he was experiencing.

When he told his mother what had happened to him, her response was ‘I don’t want to know your sordid past.’ Eliyahu has converted to another religion and has been rejected and cast out from the community.  

He suffers from PTSD and experiences anxiety and panic attacks on public transport. He says that one of the main difficulties he has is the feeling of being blamed for his own abuse and that ‘God’s judgement and punishment’ is on him. He describes how feeling helpless adds to his anger and leads to altercations with people.

Eliyahu adds that he has found it very difficult to get appropriate therapeutic support and says he would like help to address his anger and move on with his life. He recommends that there should be more support for adult survivors of sexual abuse that focuses on moving forward to help get a career, for example, rather than wallowing in the past.

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.