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Experiences Shared

Farley

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Farley grew up in a close family of church-goers. 

He was sexually abused by an official in the church, a popular and friendly man who was liked and trusted in the community. 

Farley explains that he served on the altar, and the head of servers was a man called Hubert. When Farley was about eight years old, Hubert began taking him out on trips, sometimes with other altar boys but, over time, more on his own. Hubert began kissing and cuddling him on these outings. 

Hubert told Farley not to tell anyone or he would get into trouble. He also bribed the young boy with ‘treats’.  

Farley says he counts himself ‘lucky it never went any further’. The abuse went on for about 18 months, until Farley’s family moved away. He never saw Hubert again and he never told his parents. 

He says that in his teenage years, he forgot all about it. He joined the armed forces, got married and had children.

Farley recounts how an incident at work that involved whistle-blowing triggered a feeling that he was ‘telling tales and breaking trust’. This led to him suffering depression. He took medication and had regular therapy, and after some time, told his therapist about the sexual abuse he had suffered as a child. 

After another of Hubert’s victims came forward, the police investigated the abuser, found Farley’s details in Hubert’s papers and contacted him. Farley gave a statement and Hubert was convicted and sent to prison. Farley says the judge commented that Hubert showed no remorse. 

He says he is very lucky to have been able to access ongoing therapy, and he feels that this level of support should be available for everyone.

He says ‘You can’t put a sticking plaster on people and hope it will go away … you have to get to the root causes’.

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