Quick Exit

Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Trevor says he blocked out most of his childhood recollections to help him cope with the pain caused by the sexual abuse he suffered.

Now his early memories are returning, and he says he realises he had a ‘lovely childhood’ before the abuse changed his life.

He says ‘being a victim of abuse is such a lonely experience … you do not know who to tell’.

When Trevor was a young teenager he was raped by a vicar inside a church. He clearly remembers that while it was happening, he could see was the image of Jesus on the cross and he thought he would go to hell, because Jesus was watching him.

After the rape, Trevor told an adult what had happened. He says the adult was incredulous, asking ‘How dare you say that against a man of the cloth?’. His own family did not believe him either and no action taken.

Trevor was later sent to a custodial institution where he describes being sexually, mentally and physically abused.

He was designated a dormitory leader, which was ‘one of the worst things that could have happened’.

Dormitory leaders were held responsible for the behaviour of the other young people in their room and punished with violence if anything went wrong. Trevor says he was beaten and had to thank the officer who beat him.

During his time in the institution, the vicar who had abused him came to visit him. Trevor recalls being in the visitors’ room with the rapist and crying as he did not want to see him. The vicar started to sexually touch Trevor under the table.

When he left the custodial institution, he reported what had happened to the police. Their response was that Trevor must have ‘asked for it’ and they told him to go home, unless he wanted to be sent back to the institution.

Later, Trevor reported the crime to the police again. The vicar denied that he had known Trevor, but subsequently the police found evidence to corroborate Trevor’s account.

The vicar was charged. His defence team tried to discredit Trevor throughout the trial, but he was found guilty. Despite what the vicar had done to him, Trevor says he felt sorry for him.

Trevor says he later found out that other people had previously reported the vicar to the church, but nothing had been done about it. He believes the abuser worked in various positions with children, in and outside the UK.

After the trial, he received a letter from a senior church leader, apologising unreservedly and offering compensation.

He says this this was ‘too little, too late’. He told the church that they could not compensate him for what had happened, nor for the fact that his mother thought he was a liar until the day she died.

Trevor describes how the impact of the abuse still affects him every day. He finds that certain smells or songs can bring the memories back. He has suffered severe mental health problems and tried to take his life on many occasions.

He treasures the returning memories of his previously happy childhood. He wanted to come forward now to share his experience of child sexual abuse and says he does not want anyone to go through what he went through.

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