My name is Daniel and I was abused as a child, it took me 20 years to have enough courage to speak out against my attackers and now they’re in jail for their crimes.
I hope that telling my story on this blog will let others know they’re not alone and justice can be done, even if it happened a long time ago.
My mum was pretty vulnerable which must have led to bad choices with men, as my brother and I were abused by our two step dads, one after another.
We suffered daily physical abuse which started when I was around six and carried on until I left home at sixteen to join the army.
At weekends he liked a drink so we would be made to stay in our bedroom, we weren’t allowed to put the light on and even had to go to the toilet in there.
My worst experience was when my stepdad tied me to a dining room chair and forced my brother to hit me repeatedly, shouting at him that he wasn’t doing it hard enough.
It wasn’t until my brother became very ill two years ago that we even considered talking to police.
He’d been supressing the memory of what happened to us for many years and the strain of it got too much.
He ended up in hospital where counsellors helped him and encouraged him to speak to the police.
He wanted to go for it and I knew I had to back him up, even though at first I didn’t want to do it.
Once I started the process it all came out and it’s been for the best.
When it was happening to us in the 80’s and 90’s no-one knew what went on behind closed doors, now things are getting better, there’s more awareness.
Our attackers weren’t stupid they never sent us to school with marks and we didn’t look like neglected kids. We had nice clothes and the latest toys which people might not expect, normally people think of abuse victims as the downbeat kids who might look unclean or underfed.
A tell-tale sign for me was the fact I worked really hard at school and never wanted to go home. Also my mum was constantly at the school worried about what I was saying or doing.
To teachers I’d say be wary when the picture the parents paint is very different from the child in front of you.
To kids I’d say even though it’s scary speak to someone you trust you’ll be surprised how they can help you put a stop to it.
To neighbours and friends I’d say you have a moral obligation to do something even if it’s just a call to the social services.
If you suffered in the past, take back control of your life, it’s a difficult decision to make but weigh it all up. The police and the courts listen and if you are genuine they will see that.
Over the years we were seen as liars by other family members, which was hard, and life is pretty good now knowing that the truth has been told and they didn’t get away with it.