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Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Idris was sexually abused at home by his stepfather over a period of about 10 years.

His experiences have caused him mental health problems, but he says that attending a support group for male victims and survivors is very helpful.

Idris grew up in the 1960s and was about seven years old when his mother began a relationship with a man called Joe. 

It was just after the couple got married that Joe began to sexually abuse Idris. This occurred most nights, when Joe used to go into his stepson’s bedroom. 

Idris explains how Joe manipulated him. He says ‘He blackmailed me in a way … he had this story that if I didn’t do what he wanted me to he would die in the night’.

Joe told Idris that his biological father was dead, which was untrue. He later found out that his father was told that Idris did not wish to maintain contact with him. The abuser also threatened Idris that he would have him committed to a mental hospital if he tried to stop the abuse. 

At one point, Idris wrote a letter to some relatives, telling them about the abuse. But they refused to believe him and told him he was wrong to make such accusations.

Because Joe was involved in sports and clubs that gave him access to young people, Idris believes that he may have abused more children.  He says that Joe told lies and constantly embroidered his past.

When Idris first reported the abuse to the police, he felt ‘fobbed off’, but says that his involvement with them now is far better and more supportive.

He explains how the impact of the abuse has become progressively worse for him over the years. He was bullied at school and under achieved in exams, but was labelled as lazy.

He has suffered depression, been diagnosed with PTSD and a mental health condition. He has had difficulty working and feels he has issues with authority and people trying to control him.

He has not had children, because, he says, ‘I believed that rubbish that if you’ve been abused you will turn into an abuser’. 

Idris feels that community mental health support is inadequate, and that too often drugs are used in place of therapy.

He attends a support group for male abuse survivors, which he finds helpful. He says ‘The support group is brilliant … just a load of guys who all suffered the same experience … get together and talk about stuff’. 

Idris recommends that more community mental health support should be provided for survivors of abuse, particularly for older men who may well have more difficulties in disclosing than other groups.


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