People Can't Always Handle the Truth...So I Kept Quiet
In my last post, I started to tell the story of how, as a 15-year-old, I was sexually abused by a teacher from my secondary school. In this next post, I pick up where I left off – May 1997, and Mr D had made his first move, kissing me after a staff cricket match.
Around the end of June, my year were due to undertake their work experience placements.
I was placed in the marketing and personnel section of a Hull-based bathroom
fittings manufacturer. For the large part, it was an interesting experience, and would have
passed largely without incident if it were not for one thing – Mr D had been assigned as my
It’s possible that this was just coincidence but there is always another possibility – it may
have been engineered, like his arrival at my door a few months earlier.
I had been fortunate not to have seen anything of Mr D since the first incident a few weeks earlier. I was no longer in any of his classes anyway, and I’d stopped attending the staff cricket matches. Cathy and I never mentioned the situation again.
During the second week of my work placement, a direct call came through to my section. My mentor wanted to speak to me to check on my progress. All present and correct, and what I assumed was due process except for one thing – he wanted to see me after work was over. He would drive over to the factory to pick me up.
He arrived as planned at five o’clock. I had walked out, by chance, with one of the people I was working with. Mr D saw us leave and got out of the car. He walked towards us, greeting me openly, and making up some story about why he was giving me a lift – which made it hard for me to back out of getting into the car. I mumbled goodbye to my colleague. When we got to the car, I noticed that had bought me two packets of cigarettes, which were lying on the passenger seat.
As he drove, we talked about the work placement until we pulled up at the entrance of Snuff Mill, a local wilderness ground where people walk their dogs.
“What are doing here?” I asked.
“Lets get out and walk. I need to talk to you.”
I got out of the car, and followed as he led on down an alley of foliage.
“You see. I can’t get you out of my mind, and it’s driving me crazy.” He said, not looking back
“When I close my eyes” and here he explained in explicit detail what he wanted to do to me.
Then he turned towards me, and I became aware that I was completely alone with him in this
desolate place. I knew anything could, and had, so far happened, which made me want to get out of there pretty quickly.
“Can we go back now?” I asked. I could tell that he wanted me to say something else but
my head felt like it was filled with lead. What could I say? I led the way back to the
car, not looking back at him.
“Where do you want me to drop you?” I noticed his hands were shaking on the wheel.
I told him I was meeting Adrian at the National pub at the top of National Avenue.
“Don’t say anything to him about this.” We made eye contact for the first time since we had
got back in the car.
It had never occurred to me to tell Adrian about this. He thought Mr D was a legend from his time at the same school but, I knew, if he found out what was happening – there would be hell to pay. Adrian knew people who scared me, and I dreaded to think what they could be summoned to do on a moment’s notice
I got out of the car without saying a word, without looking back.
In the pub, I sipped on my drink without any of my usual enthusiasm. Adrian didn’t notice – he chatted on happily about the bike that he had found, and was restoring. My facade didn’t slip for a second – but all I could think was “I want to tell you the truth.”
I think the most terrible thing about the whole situation is the complete sense of isolation I
felt. It’s like I was sitting on this tremendous well of pain, clinging to the edge of it, trying to
make sense of it. Knowing that if I let go, that the whole world around me would explode in
a way that I couldn’t handle. I desperately wanted to talk to someone but my experience
with Cathy had taught me that people can’t always handle the truth.
So throughout this whole experience I kept my mouth shut. It was the only way -even
though every morning, I felt like I was choking on glass at the thought of having to get up,
to face the world, I kept quiet.
All names, apart from my own, have been changed. Original article published at the Huff Post UK website.