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Cameron found reporting the sexual abuse he experienced empowering and it has helped him regain control

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Grooming and sexual abuse, followed by rejection, has made it difficult for Cameron to trust people.

However, he has been able to have helpful conversations with his parents about the abuse, and he is hopeful there will be a successful prosecution of his abuser.

When he was nine years old Cameron began having organ lessons with the choirmaster from his local church. The choirmaster was known to and respected by his parents. 

From the outset, Cameron says that the choirmaster lavished attention on him, picking him up from school and buying him takeaway meals. Cameron describes how special this made him feel. He says, ‘It seemed as though nothing was too much trouble, he regularly added extra time to his lessons and I was given the solo pieces to sing in the choir.’

Having established a special relationship, the choirmaster began to sexually abuse Cameron. He reflects, ‘I got the solos, I got additional time. Nothing was too much trouble … At the age of ten ... someone showing them that level of attention, it can easily be confused as love.’

The abuse and the special treatment Cameron had experienced ended abruptly when his abuser turned his attention to someone else. Cameron recalls the pain and confusion he felt: ‘I was the golden child, the special one, the soloist and then it was all taken from me and I didn’t really understand why. It feels as if a piece of you is ripped out.’

As an adult, Cameron says he has had issues and found it difficult to stay in a job for any length of time. He adds that he has found it was difficult to form and maintain personal relationships – he would question his partners’ motives when they bought him presents or were kind to him, because that is what his abuser used to do. He says, ‘Intimacy felt awkward. It still does.’ 

Last year, Cameron told his parents about the sexual abuse perpetrated by the choirmaster. His parents revealed that they had asked him at the time if ‘anything was going on’, but he had denied it. 

Cameron feels a sense of anger towards his parents but recognises ‘they were duped’ as much as he was. He says his relationship with his parents is much closer now that he has talked to them about the abuse. He says, ‘There is no longer “an elephant in the room” that they weren’t even aware of, that was taking up the whole of my room.’

He adds that now the family talk openly about everything and he can allow them to support him in a way he was never able to before.

Cameron reported the matter to the police and discovered that two other people had come forward. At the time the police arrested his abuser he was teaching music at a school with full access to children. Cameron understands that his abuser’s access to under 18s is currently restricted, as is his use of mobile phones and the internet. 

Although he has found reporting the abuse a painful process, Cameron is clear that he has found it empowering and feels as though he is regaining control.

He adds that with hindsight, he can’t help but ask why people did not question why the choirmaster, a man in his early 20s, chose to spend such a disproportionate amount of time with Cameron.  

Fortunately, Cameron says he has found ‘the most beautiful and loving person’ and is now married, but currently he feels his life is ‘on hold’ while he waits for the outcome of the prosecution of his abuser.

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