Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

Ethyn

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Ethyn was sent to a private boarding school where he was targeted by older pupils and teachers for sexual abuse.

The large dormitory in which Ethyn slept was supervised by a prefect who made it clear he considered Ethyn, who was not yet a teenager, to be ‘pretty’.

This older boy began abusing Ethyn, first by kissing, which led to sexual activity. The prefect later began ‘sharing’ Ethyn with other prefects, who were in their mid-teens.

Ethyn recalls that other boys and one of the housemasters noticed this interest in him. He says that he did not report the abuse and the housemaster did not take it further.

Ethyn knew that pupils had previously been expelled for this type of behaviour and he did not want to see anyone expelled.

He was in sports teams and in the choir, and he now realises that he joined these to try and compensate for feeling isolated from his family. He remembers being given a present by the choirmaster one Christmas.

On a later occasion when he was unwell and was confined to the school medical centre, the choirmaster visited him one night after lights out. He sat on Ethyn’s bed and started tickling him and moved on to sexual touching.

The choirmaster commented that from the look on Ethyn’s face, he could see that Ethyn did not like it, and he stopped.

Ethyn says the choirmaster later left the school at very short notice. He later became aware that the teacher was working at another school where Ethyn understands that he continued to abuse. 

As Ethyn progressed through school, he matured sexually and entered into a relationship with another boy. Despite the housemaster knowing and questioning Ethyn about the relationship, no action was taken to stop it.

However, the housemaster began inviting Ethyn to his room where they would drink alcohol together most evenings. 

He also sometimes took Ethyn out to lunch at weekends. Ethyn says that at the time, this felt like ‘a privilege’, but he now realises the housemaster was grooming him.

One evening, when he was alone with the housemaster, the teacher touched Ethyn inappropriately. Ethyn pushed him away and he stopped. After this, the relationship changed.

Looking back on his time at boarding school, Ethyn reflects that the attention he received by being available for sexual favours made him ‘special’ in the eyes of those in authority at the school, including monitors, prefects and staff.

However, he now knows that the abuse had a detrimental effect on him, which continues to this day. He failed his exams the following year and did not get a place at the university he had hoped to attend.

As an adult, Ethyn frequently moves jobs. He describes how, after the initial ‘excitement’ of a new role, he finds it hard to concentrate on his work. He has had a difficult life financially and has never owned a property. He is also estranged from his child, which he finds very upsetting.

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