Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

Tony

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

When Tony’s mother left the family home, he was placed in a religious children’s home where he found himself at the mercy of the manager and her relative, a priest who sexually abused him.

Tony is not aware that any checks were made on his welfare by anyone in authority and he felt unable to tell his father, who admired the priest.

There was a large age gap between Tony’s mother and father. He describes his father as ‘a strange man’, but says: ‘He loved me, and I loved him.’ Tony and his siblings were sent to the children’s home after his mother left. He remembers that she only visited them once.

The home was run by Sara, whose relative, Sid, was a priest. Sid showed a particular interest in Tony and he felt flattered by this. One night, Tony was woken by Sara and taken to Sid. He was told to take his clothes off and stand in the corner. Every so often he was told to turn around, before eventually being allowed to go back to bed. ‘I wasn’t comfortable’, Tony remembers.

Not long after this, Sara told Tony that Sid was going to take him to the pictures. Instead, Sid drove him to a house where he stripped him naked and sexually abused him. ‘Of course, we never got to the pictures. Sara must have known what was going on. I paid the price for his friendship’, Tony says.

He felt that he had no one to talk to about what had happened and so he remained silent. He says: ‘My father thought the world of Sid; how could I tell him?’

Shortly after his visit to the house, Tony was moved from the children’s home. For several years after, each Christmas he received a card from Sid containing money. Tony subsequently attended a boarding school. Years later he became aware of other boys coming forward claiming that they were sexually abused there by the schoolmasters, but he says he did not see it at the time.

When he was not at boarding school, he was returned to a children’s home. He remembers quite a bit of violence among the children, but he does not recall anybody visiting to check on how things were. He says: ‘Nobody came and said, “Are you happy? Are you well?”’

Many years after the sexual abuse, Tony visited a church to report what had happened to him. He was given an address to write to, but the response to his letter was that Sid had died and there were no other reports.

‘The church has a lot to answer for … I’m disappointed with their response; they should have done something’, he says.

Tony is still living with vivid memories of the sexual abuse perpetrated by Sid. ‘I can still taste and smell him’, he says. ‘But I’ve survived really … I’ve nothing to be ashamed of; it was done to me. I was a child.’

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