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IICSA published its final Report in October 2022. This website was last updated in January 2023.



Isaac says that counselling isn’t a total solution, but it helps him deal with the impact of abuse

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Isaac feels that people who are made to repress their emotions can be made vulnerable to abuse.

He would like to see this issue addressed in schools, particularly for boys.

Isaac grew up in a household where there was little emotional warmth and his parents were not very available to him. His father worked long hours and his mother sometimes suffered from depression.

He thinks this led him to seek affection elsewhere and made him vulnerable to exploitative people. ‘If you showed me attention I would do whatever I could to get more’ he says. 

Isaac describes his family as working class but because he was offered a bursary, he attended a private school from the age of 11. His parents were pleased their son got this opportunity, and at first Isaac enjoyed school.

One of the teachers, Mr Smith, gave Isaac extra tutoring and mentoring. He was very kind to Isaac, helping with his homework, and Isaac felt they had a ‘special relationship’. 

One day, after a games session, Mr Smith suggested that Isaac stay behind so he could give him additional coaching. After all the other pupils had left, the teacher anally raped Isaac in the changing rooms.

Isaac has vivid memories of the shock and pain of the assault. He recalls the memory, saying ‘I can’t describe how awful it is’. He remembers that when it was over and he was lying on the floor in terrible pain, with his face pressed up against the tiles, Mr Smith said something like ‘You won't tell anyone this happened … this didn't happen and if you ever say anything to anyone we will find you’.

Isaac describes how terrified he was, as a small and physically immature boy, by this threat about what ‘these people, whoever they were’ might do to him. He remembers walking round and round in circles. ‘I felt completely disempowered … disabled. I couldn’t work out what to do.’

Isaac is not sure whether he was sexually abused again. He thinks from that point he disassociated and his memories are blurred. But he does know that he became increasingly unhappy at school. He couldn’t concentrate on his work and frequently truanted. 

At the end of one holiday, he was so desperate not to go back to school that he attempted to take his own life. However, his parents insisted he went back to school and had extra lessons in order to sit his exams.

Isaac left the school as soon as he could and went to college. He did not tell anyone about the sexual abuse until more than a decade later, when he had therapy.

He now realises that as well as coming from a family where it was not acceptable to show emotion, the culture at his school was the same – boys were seen as weak if they had feelings. He thinks this added to his vulnerability and that Mr Smith took advantage of this.

Isaac believes that educating children about child sexual abuse is essential, and so is provision of pastoral care in schools.

He adds that he would like boys to be taught about ‘emotional literacy’, so they feel able to talk about their feelings. He thinks it is helpful to keep child sexual abuse in the public eye, with campaigns and celebrities discussing the issue.

Isaac struggles with feelings of anger, betrayal and grief at the loss of his childhood. But he says he feels well supported by his wife and close friends, and that while counselling doesn’t mean ‘suddenly you’re fine’, it is helpful for him. 

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