Justice: It’s never too late
This page details Rob’s journey in deciding to seek out and call to account the man who sexually abused him as a child. Rob has written this account in the hope that it will assist other men who have been sexually abused and their partners, family and supporters.
The decision to do something
I can't remember exactly why or when I had the idea (closely followed by feelings of panic, anger and fear), with regards to going to the police about the man who sexually abused me. I wanted justice and I wanted to make sure he wasn't still abusing.
Then the wobble set in "What if he was still abusing and I couldn't go through with it and he continued to abuse?", "What if no one believed me?", “What if I had to face him in court and have to tell my story to at least a million people who would all judge me and hate me etc. etc?". Then the big one – "What if I made it all up in my head and I had an innocent man wrongly convicted?" That last one really blew me away, as it dragged up thoughts about my part in the sexual abuse, “Did I lead him on?”, “Was it all my fault?” These thoughts appeared and took hold, even though I knew I was only 9yrs old and he was a grown man. After all these years, he was still controlling my thoughts, emotions and physical responses. I had to do something!
Going to the police
After much soul searching and talking to my wife, I approached the police with my story. They handled it beautifully and were very understanding. I was invited in for a couple of interviews where they very gently asked me to relate whatever I felt comfortable telling them. I think it would have been about the third visit that a young police woman talked me through the court process and she asked me whether or not I felt strong enough to handle that.
I couldn't do it, I was too scared. What I did do though was to embark on a search to learn what I could about him, to try and make him more human, frail and to reduce him to someone I could face across a courtroom. He had to face justice for what he had done to me.
Finding his obituary
The internet can sometimes be a wonderful place. After a year or so of digging, I found an obituary written in The Times in London by a colleague of his, which was glowing in its description of the man this guy had known. The kicker was right at the end of this obituary, when the author mentioned (almost in passing) that this man had been convicted of sexual offences in 1995, before passing away in 2004. I contacted the author, without letting him know why I was interested in this man until I had some further details. I was then put in touch with his ex wife, who after an honest, open and supportive discussion, wrote me a lovely letter explaining the circumstances leading up to the conviction, what happened afterwards and expressing her sadness that I had been abused by this man.
I learnt that even if I had made a full statement and sought prosecution, it would have gone nowhere. He was dead! However, I now know he had his day in front of a judge, he had lost his job, he became a social pariah, under surveillance and supervision, before dying a lonely death. He had a conviction recorded against him and the world knew what and who he was.
Rewriting his Wikepedia entry
A few years later, I discovered a long and glowing account of his life on Wikipedia. I took time to edit the entry, adding a few facts of my own about him sexually abusing children and left it at that…or so I thought. A few months later I returned to Wikipedia to discover that someone had taken out my comments…so I replaced them. They were removed again. I re- edited the entry again and this time added a comment to the person who was removing my account. We became embroiled in quite a heated email argument about the accuracy and veracity of my posts, versus the picture depicted in the original Wikipedia article. After a while, the email chatter went quiet. A few months later, I re-visited the article and was pleased to find that it had been reduced to a couple of lines that very simply and factually recorded this man had existed, without listing any achievements. Now, his online existence mirrors his physical one, small and tainted, forever overshadowed by his actions against me and others!
Helping me to live my life
There are many ways to see justice served. For me, it was about taking actions that helped me get to a better place, not looking for reparation or revenge. It was about helping me face my life and take my place in the world. I had to remove the confusion and uncertainty, take back the control that is rightfully mine. I have the strength to stand tall and shout "I am a good person who has had bad stuff done to me, no more, no less, and you will no longer haunt me or my future!"