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Experiences Shared

Russell

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Russell did not talk about his abuse for many years, until it came out in a counselling session. Since then he has not been able to forget about it.

He says that, looking back, he realises he was abused by his family doctor at his very first appointment, even though his mother was in the room.

He explains that his father died when he was a baby. When he was approaching his teens his mother married again and they all moved in with her second husband, registering with a new doctors’ surgery. This put Russell into the hands of his abuser, a GP at this practice.

Russell recalls that on entering the surgery, the doctor’s words would always be ‘Come on, let's just have a look to see how you are getting on’.

He describes a set routine for each visit where the doctor would make Russell lie on a couch with his trousers down, even if Russell was seeing him because of a cough or a bad cold.

The GP would carry out genital and rectal examinations, then get round to talking about the illness Russell had actually come to see him about. Russell can remember being terrified and would go home crying and ‘in a state’.

He says he would be sore after the examination and sometimes bruised. One day the GP asked Russell to masturbate in front of him. Russell was horrified – he did not understand what the GP was talking about.

The abuse carried on into his teenage years. On one of the last occasions, Russell had sustained a minor injury to his leg and went to the doctor alone, thinking that the abuse could not happen again. It did, but that was the last time.

Russell describes how he carried these events around for many years, questioning in his own mind whether it was abuse. After he had a breakdown, he had counselling and he reported the abuse to the police, although the GP was dead by that time.

The police told him that it would have been a very difficult case to investigate as the doctor would have claimed that there was a medical reason for what he had done.

Russell has since spoken to others who were abused by the same GP. It appeared that other people knew what was going on but, as he was in a position of power, no action was taken.

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