The (re)Storytellers Project was created to amplify the voices of disabled victims and survivors. Submissions are shared in an effort to foster community and bring about change in the way disabled victims and survivors are seen and treated. In this post, David shares his story.
Content note: This post discusses sexual abuse by a carer and being failed by the justice system and Social Services.
I am in need of carers to help me get showered and ready and dressed in the mornings and have been using these services for about 3 years, all with the same care company and without any problems. Due to my disability I had a need for a wet room to be fitted.
During the course of the work being done, I needed to have an all over wash while standing at the sink, most of which I am able to do myself, albeit very slowly, and was able to wash myself down to just above my knees. On this particular occasion, on the 3rd of April, I was washing myself as usual and had finished washing the top half of my body, incidentally, I am unable to wash my back myself but try to be as independent as possible.
After washing the top half and before washing my groin area, I put my flannel into the sink to wash it out before continuing… At this point the carer snatched the flannel from my hand and started to wash my groin area.
I will not go into full details as to what happened next, even now I am unable to talk about it. However, the carer made a couple of very strange comments while “washing” that particular area. At one point I went “oh”. I was intending to say “oh, what do you think you are doing?” but stopped myself from finishing the sentence.
He then said, “sorry if I’m hurting you but I need to do it like this because that part needs more washing” I didn’t say anything at the time as I couldn’t quite believe what was happening.
Having thought about it and getting more and more upset as it sunk in, I decided to report the matter to the office. They in turn reported it to social services, and a meeting was then arranged between the social worker, one of the office supervisors and myself. As a result of this discussion I made the decision to report the whole thing to the police.
Whilst the policewoman was very nice, I was advised that the matter could not be taken further as there was no evidence it was my word against his.
To all intents and purposes that was the end of the matter, and I requested to only be allocated female carers.
The social then provided me with a copy of what was his concluding report. I read things in there that the perpetrator had said during the course of the investigation that I thought needed to be addressed as they were quite simply pure and utter lies. He had said that it was the first time he had been to me while my new shower was being fitted and that I had requested to be “washed all over”.
However, it was the 4th time he had been to me and was fully aware of what was required. If I asked to be “washed all over” why did he then not wash the top half of my body? He brushed the whole thing off as “being helpful and thorough”.
Obviously there were no witnesses, as presumably it wouldn’t have happened had anybody else been present… The care company told me that he had been put on to only double calls, though I have been told by other carers that this is definitely not true.
What really bugs me, apart from what happened is the fact that the perpetrator has been able to get away with it, keep his job and escaped with this scot free? I needed to have counselling as a result of this, which I had to pay for out of my own pocket as I was informed there was a 6 month waiting list otherwise.
As an interesting footnote, only yesterday I happened to see one of my old carers in the street, and he actually told me, without any prompting from me, and without me telling him about what had happened, that he had left his job as he often worked with this perpetrator and felt “very uncomfortable” with him.
There is absolutely no question that this was misinterpreted, or could be put down to being “helpful” or “thorough” this was an assault, pure and simple and he has got away with it without any repercussions.
I have since found out that my abuser left his previous job with another care agency because he was unable to get enough work due to too many people not prepared to work with him. He’s still working for the company I use but I now know that more official complaints have been made against him and carers have left because they felt very uncomfortable working with him.
It seems very clear that there is much, much more to this – I wasn’t the first and unquestionably won’t be the last. I have no idea how but this man needs stopping.
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