We were victims of childhood abuse in our differing ways and here we'll share something of what happened to us.

Your comments and contributions are very welcome - and if you're a Survivor of childhood abuse then please, share your story with us.

And if you can, then please help us to all help each other by adding to our Links List of resources for Survivors of Abuse.

You're very welcome to leave us a Comment on a post or you can email us.

Malcolm's Story

My biological father, who ran away when I was 4 used to beat me on the rare occasions that I can remember him coming home. My mother eventually told me he subscribed to the school of thought that believed for boys prevention was better than cure; beatings would ensure that I “grew up right”.

In April 1963, just 2 weeks after my 10th birthday I was molested, in the village bus shelter, by a 16 year old boy who then proceeded to sexually abuse me for the next 3 years. During that time I was forced to perform and endure every conceivable sexual act many of which were deeply distressing. My response to this was bed wetting until I was 12, depression and behavioural abnormalities including unprecedented anger problems. No attention was paid to these issues because my school work remained of an exceptionally high standard.

In 1964 I started Grammar school and on day one became the butt of teasing because of my ginger hair, my glasses and my “funny” Scottish surname. When the other boys discovered I didn’t have a father they called me “Bastard” and nothing I said could change that. My first rugger lesson betrayed my physical frailty and teasing very quickly became bullying added to which, for no reason that I could discern, the boys began to call me “Bum Boy”. On one occasion, incensed by taunts, I tried to strangle one of the bullies. No Master witnessed my attack or the vicious beating I suffered afterwards. I got thrashed at home that night because I ruined my new and very expensive uniform. Bullying was a significant feature of my life for the entire 7 years I was at that school.

In 1965 my Mother remarried and for a very short time my life seemed to have improved. After 8 years without one I had a Dad, the family was complete again. Dad’s approach to boys and discipline however was very similar to that of my biological father. Depending on the severity of the offence punishment would range from a smack to the belt; the only consistency being that it was delivered to a bare backside often with my sisters as witnesses. Combined with continuing sexual abuse and the misery I was living through at school this additional suffering pushed me further into depression and increased my anger problems.

I discovered the power of sarcasm and how easily other boys could be offended by intellectual superiority so embarked on a campaign of provocation. Repeatedly arriving home with torn clothes, a bloody nose and smashed glasses brought punishment but that only served to intensify my sense of martyrdom.

At 13 the sexual abuse of 3 years suddenly stopped but what should have been a time of celebration was marred by my understanding that I was homosexual; the “Bum Boy” taunts of my form mates had actually been justified. I was aghast. There was no doubt in my mind that this awful truth had to be kept secret, if Dad merely suspected me of being queer he’d drag me off to the doctor demanding that I be “cured”. If the boys in my form got wind of this I’d end up as a bloody smear on the floor of the boy’s toilet. Although free of sexual abuse my life didn’t get better, it got much worse.

At 16 I ran away from home but was caught by the police only 4 miles from home. I was subjected to the most extreme punishment of my life, the chosen instrument being my own belt which I was forced to hand over. After the punishment I was threatened with the harshest boarding school my parents could find so I chose to submit to their will until I was 18.

That’s the story in brief but don’t go away with the idea that my life was ruined by these experiences. That my life was changed and affected is undeniable but an important part of being a survivor rather than a victim is keeping going despite the horrors of the past. I’ve had several high profile jobs and have been successful in a number of fields. I’m currently taking an Access to HE course and hope to win a place at Exeter University in 2011 thus turning the wheel full circle.

My blog An Old Midhurstian has stories from before and after abuse became part of my life. Riven Skies is the home of my creative writing including several of the poems I wrote as a child in direct response to the problems I was dealing with.