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Sex abuse hell of York victim
A CHILD sex abuse victim from York has revealed the horror he endured at the hands of his head teacher, and told why sufferers can take years to speak out.
The man came forward as accusations continue to be made against the late Sir Jimmy Savile, and as the former TV star and DJ’s headstone in Scarborough was removed and destroyed.
Alex* recovered from his own ordeal of prolonged sexual attacks during his childhood to become a managing director and is prominent in North Yorkshire’s business community.
But he had to live with “guilt and shame” for decades before finding the strength to speak out once the man who abused him died, and said it was hard for those who have not experienced such trauma to appreciate why reporting it is so difficult.
Alex said a cancer scare ultimately led him to think about what he most wanted to change about his past, and he told police about the abuse he was subjected to between the ages of eight and 11. He said: “I discovered the perpetrator had died, but finally I was able to describe myself as the victim of a crime.
“For 40 years, I had been carrying the guilt and shame of those crimes, which should have been carried by the paedophile who abused me and the adults I believed knew what was happening, but who turned a blind eye to protect him instead of me.”
Alex now attends men-only coffee mornings held at the charity Survive each week. He said: “I find it difficult to explain just how liberating it was just to sit in a room with ordinary blokes, from a wide range of backgrounds and ages, who had all had similar experiences.
“I have learned a lot and come to realise there is always somebody else who had it worse than me.”
The accusations against Savile, dating back decades, have emerged in recent weeks, following his death last year. Survive support worker Jason Gillery said many abuse victims feel not only shame, but also that they are directly responsible for the crimes against them.
Alex said: “Unless you have experienced childhood sexual abuse or been the victim of a sexual crime as an adult, it is difficult to understand why people do not speak out.”.
Victims of sexual abuse can phone Survive on 01904 638813 during office hours, Monday to Thursday.
Meanwhile, Lord Patten has asked the BBC director-general, George Entwistle, to review its guidelines on child protection following what he called the “cesspit” of sexual abuse allegations against Jimmy Savile.
The chairman of the BBC Trust said he wanted to ensure the corporation's policies were “fit for purpose” after numerous claims that Savile's alleged abuse had taken place on the broadcaster's premises.
He also pledged the BBC's independent inquiry should be launched as swiftly as possible following a police investigation into Savile’s activities.
* The victim’s name has been changed to protect his identity.