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John - age 71 years.
For over 60 years I lived with the awful guilt, shame, self-disgust, embarrassment and total fear of rejection by society in general and family and loved ones in particular as the result of the childhood sexual abuse that I had encountered. As a nine year old I became a victim of a highly respected, school teacher yet predatory paedophile.

An experience that I suffered in silence for over 2½ years until he was caught and arrested by Police in a somewhat compromising situation with another young child victim.

Suffering the added fear of a possible Crown Court appearance with the likelihood of local press coverage and the distinct possibility of being ’taken into care’ as was the case in those days, from what was a perfectly normal, loving family environment the trauma experienced as an eleven year old was indescribable.

This closely guarded family secret was never discussed and to all outward appearances my life followed the conventional pathway of a career, marriage, a family of two offspring yet never feeling able to confide this dreadful period during my childhood to anyone and living in constant fear of this being revealed.

Following the sudden and unexpected death of my beloved wife of almost 46 years I sought solace through Cruse the Bereavement Counselling Service who, having heard my narrative referred me to Family Matters for counselling therapy.

Arriving at my first appointment session full of trepidation and yes, a degree of apprehension I was introduced to a highly qualified professional Counsellor who, over the next twelve weeks listened, analysed, fully understood and above all sympathised with my 60 years of despair, providing me with an insight into my inner feelings that I had never considered nor fully appreciated.

At the conclusion of my therapy, I felt so confident to not only to disclose to my, now adult offspring, family and friends who without exception have responded both positively and with sympathetic understanding.

The moral being that I only wish that I had disclosed and sought help earlier had I been aware that organisations such as Family Matters existed, as whilst not being, in any way of a religious persuasion I now appreciate what the ‘born again Christian’ philosophy represents as I now feel like a ‘born again Human being’ sadly however, some 60 years too late.
    I feel a lot better with myself and look forward to my life ahead    
Established in 1990, we are a leading provider of support services for childhood sexual abuse and sexual violence in the country.
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