Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

Richard

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Richard was sent to a boarding school where sexual abuse was perpetrated by staff and pupils. He feels strongly that parents should protect their children from potentially abusive environments.

When Richard was a young child, his parents divorced, and he and his mother moved to another area. Life was not easy for them, and social services became involved.

Richard’s memory is that his mother was ‘coerced’ by a social worker to send him to a boarding school. Here it was apparent that some of the teachers should be avoided at all costs and Richard says he developed a ‘violence radar’ to try and protect himself.

He recalls an incident that occurred when he was a young teenager, involving a teacher called Andy, who would appear at the door of the boys’ bathroom to inspect them, saying that he was checking they were properly dry.

Richard reported this to his housemaster and Andy left the school. Richard remembers another teacher who invited him into his room for a chat. Richard sat on his knee.

He says the door was open, the teacher then went to make some tea, and this was all that happened. Richard says this was the only teacher who showed him any kindness and he remembers wishing that he had a dad like him.

Around the same time there was an older boy called Frank at the school who was known as a bully. One night, Frank nudged Richard awake and directed him to his cubicle. Frank dropped his pyjama bottoms to reveal his erect penis.

Richard ran to his bed and hid under the covers. Frank followed Richard to get him back, but when he refused Frank left, and it never happened again. Richard said that he didn’t report the incident as he did not feel he knew who to trust.

Richard later resolved to be the antithesis of those who had gone before him by befriending and helping the boys in his dorm. He says that he still has a recurring dream of trying to escape from the school. He believes that irreparable damage has been done to him by the school and social services.

Years later, another former pupil told Richard that he had witnessed a teacher having sex with a pupil. He had never said anything about it and Richard encouraged him to report what he had seen.

Richard thinks that people who are alive today and have committed sexual abuse should be brought to account; that children should not be sent to boarding schools; that parents should care for their children and not send them to a sterile and possibly violent environment.

He would like a written letter from the local council apologising for placing him at that school, and recompense for a robbed childhood.

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