This is the story of ‘Jake’ who spoke out about abuse Jake is 16yrs. Names changed to protect identity
I was only 6 or 7 years old when the sexual abuse started. The abuser, Luke, was a family friend and often used to babysit me. He was always around the family. He was15 years old when the abuse started so a lot older than me.
Luke would ask me to play a game or we’d watch a movie together, and then he'd abuse me. After a while he didn’t bother with the game. No-one caught him out. I suppose no-one expected it was happening – well why would they? I really trusted him. We all did.
Luke told me one time after it happened that if I told my mum we’d both get into trouble and I believed him, so I was really scared. He said to keep it a secret and I did, but when I got a bit older and learnt a bit more about sexual things I thought what was happening to me couldn’t be right. So when I was nine I started to stop him doing it and then I think he may have moved on to abusing other boys. It was then that I told my brother who was shocked, and he told mum who wanted to speak with me about it right away.
Mum was shocked and upset. The abuser was like part of our family and we're a close family; he was almost like another son for mum. At first she asked me if I was sure, but of course nine year old boys don’t make this sort of thing up, so she knew I was telling the truth.
I told another kid a couple of years before what has happening to me but they just laughed so I felt really knocked back by that and didn’t tell again for a really long time. I think it’s hard telling another kid and she didn’t know what to do or say.
Then six months or a year or so later, there was a court case which was really scary. I had to do a video link to court. I was only ten years old at the time. It was also hard waiting for the case to come to court because the abuser didn’t live far away. Even though he knew he wasn’t allowed to come near us, it was difficult. It was hard for the whole family to come to terms with.
The abuser got 14 years. I was happy because that was justice, but I’m angry with him because I trusted him. He never admitted that he'd done anything wrong and he doesn't see the harm he has caused. I wanted him to suffer like I did. I’d never want to see him when he gets out of prison and that worries me a bit. I’ve come such a long way and I just want to get on with things.
Sometimes I wish I hadn't told because it's hard on my family and my mum, but my mum always tells me that it was the right thing to do and that I helped by talking about. I think he may have done it to other boys as well and that's upsetting. I feel good because I stopped it happening; I stopped it happening to other boys as well. If he has abused other boys I want them to be happy rather than to keep it bottled up or keep pushing it away.
It took me a while to come to terms with what happened to me. For a while I wondered if I was gay, but I know that I'm not and what happened wasn’t right. I came to the NSPCC sometime after the trial and saw a counsellor there for about a year. It really helped me to have someone to talk to who knew what they were doing and could really listen to how I was feeling. My counsellor understood how I felt. The way she said things made it easier to talk to her. I couldn’t really talk to anyone else about it properly, my family were upset about it as well and they didn't know how to talk to me about it. It was better to speak to someone outside the family.
Now I know I can leave this behind me – there is closure for me. I still have my moments of getting upset, but I’ve dealt with it so much better since I came to the NSPCC. I used to get down more often and I used to go over and over it in my head more. It's made me a lot stronger and I’m not afraid to talk about it. It seems in the past and I feel stronger to help other people too.
Since coming to the NSPCC I've decided that I want to be a counsellor or social worker because I want to help others. I think it would be easier for them because I'll understand what they're going through if they had to go through what I went through. I know some of the things they'd want to hear like: it doesn’t have to happen to you, you're not going to get into trouble, that it's not right, and I could be reassuring. I'd really get a lot out of helping people.
When the abuser is an older young person, you feel like there might be no-one you can talk to about it. It's easier to tell another young person before you tell an adult but when the abuser is someone you look up to like this, another young person, you think what they're doing must be right, that it's meant to happen, or it's just how things are. You learn to trust those young people a bit older than you because you can relate them, build up a relationship like a brother or friend. You want an older boy to like you and you really want to fit in with the other kids. When you're young you learn from older kids, they teach you things so you believe them. I felt lied to and it's harder to trust older boys now – it takes me a lot to be good friends with someone and to really trust them. My NSPCC worker told me not to judge people by my past experience, so I am getting better at this and find it easier. I can't forget it but it gets easier.
If there is a young boy who might be going through something like this then I’d want to tell them not to be scared, that they are not doing anything wrong, it’s not their fault and it doesn’t have to happen to them any more. It's important to talk to someone who will understand and can help. The abuser drums it into your head not to tell and it takes quite a bit for someone to get through to you that it's ok to talk about it, it's not your fault, and that there is help for you. You need to hear this a few times. I think ChildLine would definitely have helped it if I had known about it when I was younger too.