David’s Story

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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To That Boy

Content note: this post discusses sexual abuse, institutional abuse, and self harm. It may be upsetting for those who were abused in an educational setting.

This is an audio post, submitted by a survivor. The transcript can be found after the audio.

To That Boy

*To that boy.

The boy who has moved on, to whom I am a distant memory.

Lucky, because you can. But how I was I supposed to? With the things you did and the stuff you etched in to my brain. You think it’s no big deal as you got away with it, as they would just make excuses for the behaviour.

The school that failed to care was partly responsible. And, in some ways, you are for the rest of it. But there is a third party: the school failed to prepare me.

This was the school that decided that making me sit beside a netball court to tick the ‘disabled students do P.E.’ box was more important than my PSHE lessons when I had to miss something to do physio. Meaning that I missed out on information that could have protected me from you.

I know some people will say it was my fault for not speaking out. But how could I tell people when they wouldn’t believe me? When the school that failed to care just told me that I was being oversensitive, when you were just trying to be friendly. They were so excited that I seemed to have a friend that they totally missed that you were just using a vulnerable person as your victim.

And that’s how you got away with the rape threats, the unwanted kisses and everything else inappropriate you did. That and the fact no one expected you to be capable of what happened, when it happened when we were both 14 when it started.

In some ways, I’ve come to forgive you. But before you think you got away with it all, I will never forgive you for the amount of time I felt guilty for making a decision about my own education that resulted in you moving onto my best friend and I couldn’t protect her.

Also, remember the guy? Freedom? You used to blackmail me about? Well, you were eventually right about him, but that doesn’t legitimise anything, in case you were wondering. I will never ever forgive you for the fact that all the insecurities you drilled in to me made it impossible for him to think of me in the way I do of him.

In some ways, I don’t blame him. It must be pretty difficult to love someone who you end up hurting every time, just because some psycho has convinced her that relationships don’t involve her pleasure. Or what she wants to do.

The saddest thing about it, though? Was then you took away, with that, the person – the ONLY person – who was prepared to walk beside me and help me through this darkness.

The girl that Freedom moved onto, isn’t comfortable with me needing him. But again, she doesn’t know about you. Or because of the situation, he is only person I feel comfortable and safe to have any sort of physical interaction with. Or that he’s the only one who can take away anything you left behind.

The fact is that no one is comfortable with this, though. But they can all walk away from it, a tiny bit, in a way I will never be able to, as it will always hang over me like a little grey cloud. Even if it does fade, over time.

But ignoring it or running away is easy for someone else to do, as they aren’t the ones having to explain why it’s your fault they end up with crimson running down their wrists when they get rejected. Or that that wasn’t the first injurious thing that happened because of you, as the outside world couldn’t see all my contemplations about a one-way ticket to Switzerland.

It’s not quite as easy, though, to just move on when you’re me. Trying not to blame a disability that I can’t change for meaning that I was the victim to something that has made me feel worthy of a supermarket reduced sticker as I feel like damaged goods.

Don’t think just because I’m coming clean about what it feels like to have been your victim means you won. At the end of the day, you always be the guy with a past to hide from everyone, although it will never have the direct on your life, as it will on mine. And I will always be the girl trying to piece things together, piece by piece, whilst tackling the harder fight of forgetting what you left behind.

I’m not doing this because I want your apology, or even an acknowledgement of what you did. I don’t any other person’s sympathy either. Frankly, nothing’s gonna fix it for me that you can do now. It’s my responsibility to deal with putting this back together and putting my life back together and fixing this mess, in whatever way I can with whatever help I can get. But as I look at it, if I talk about what happened, I may just be able to try and sort the system, so it doesn’t fail other people like it failed me.

Sincerely, The girl

If you need support after reading this story, the following services can help you:

  • The Samaritans offer confidential and emotional support for anyone in crisis. Call: 116 123 Text: 084579 09192
  • Victim Support provide emotional support and practical advice for anyone affected by crime living in England or Wales. Open weekdays: 8pm – 8am Open weekends: 24 hours Call: 0845 30 30 900

You can find a complete list of support services on our website. Please remember you can email us at any time.

The First (Re)Storyteller

Content note: this post discusses childhood sexual abuse by a family member, failings by parents and police, and lack of justice.

I was routinely sexually abused by my grandfather from the age of eleven. My school called the police when I disclosed at 15 and I underwent an interview, after which my parents were told that I had simply misunderstood his actions due to my Autism and the case was dropped. He went on to abuse a number of other people in the next five years, but the abuse I was subjected to was never brought up again even though he was prosecuted for the other (less serious as far as the law goes) incidents, and he died without ever facing consequences for his abuse of me.

If you have been affected by the content of this post, the following services are here to support you:

  • Victim Support can give you free, confidential support if you have experienced child abuse at any point in your life. You do not need to have reported the abuse to be supported by them.
  • The NSPCC has lots of information on their website, including how to spot the signs of abuse and what you can do if you suspect a child is in danger.

We have a comprehensive list of support services that work with survivors of all kinds of abuse and violence. Click here to view the complete list.

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