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Fin was sexually abused as a boy sailor in the Navy in the 1950s

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Fin says that until the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal emerged, he felt he had put the events that happened to him as a teenager ‘more or less to bed’, but now describes how being sexually abused has had a lasting effect on him.

He joined the navy in the 1950s as a boy sailor. The officer in charge of the sailing school praised his talent and put him in a position of responsibility.

Fin told us that the officer then ‘made his move’ and sexually abused him. Fin says he has asked himself ever since ‘How did I allow it to happen?’ and why he didn’t say no to the sexual abuse. He can see now that it was grooming.

Fin did go and speak to the padre and has tried to get a copy of his report, but all he was able to obtain is a comment from the padre that ‘Fin joined the navy to please his parents.’

Because of the sexual abuse and the stress he was under, Fin started bed wetting. He went absent without leave but was found and brought back to the navy where he was subject to corporal punishment, which he describes as being carried out in a very ‘ceremonial’ way.

He was then sent for a hospital examination because of his bed wetting. No physical reason was found and no one considered he might have psychological problems. The Navy decided that Fin was not fit for further training and discharged him.

Fin says he has a serious problem with relationships and doesn’t allow attachment for fear of rejection. He says he has had a good life financially, but not in terms of relationships, and wonders what his life could have been like if he had not been sexually abused.

Only one member of his family knows of Fin’s abuse. They were also at a sailing school in their youth and told him that sexual abuse was going on in their day too. Fin feels things would not be different today.

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