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Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Juan grew up in a large family and had a difficult childhood, suffering physical and emotional abuse.

After his parents separated he was abused by a number of his mother’s male friends, who sensed his vulnerability.

Juan’s parents separated when he was young and after that his mother had a succession of male friends, several of whom sexually abused him. They used to take him for outings and treats and looking back, he says, it was as if these were ‘payment’ for the abuse he suffered.

He was abused again when he was about 10 years old. One of Juan’s siblings committed an offence and the probation officer assigned to the case became friendly with his mother. This man began taking Juan to his home and sexually abusing him. Juan believes the man eventually fled abroad to avoid prosecution for the abuse of other boys.

A further episode of abuse occurred when Juan was invited to work on a farm by the owner, who was a family acquaintance. This man also took advantage of the young boy.  

Juan started to drink alcohol in his early teens and was soon drinking a bottle of whisky a day. Around the same time he was introduced to a gay club. He was not abused there but people bought drinks for him, and the alcohol took away his painful memories.

His early experiences of life made him feel that everything comes at a price. When he attended Alcoholics Anonymous he was abused by his sponsor.

He adds that he was brought up never to complain or ‘tell tales’, so did not feel able to tell anyone what was happening to him. 

About seven years ago, Juan told his mother about the abuse committed by the probation officer, but she did not believe him and his disclosure has caused problems in the family.   

Juan feels he has always been ‘shut down’ and prevented from telling his story.  He tried to access counselling for the abuse but was directed to an anger management course, which greatly upset him.

He has a complete lack of trust in people in authority. He feels that they are the ones who either ‘abuse you or make assumptions’ without listening properly.

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