The aftermath of abuse

Roy recalls the devastating effects of being sexually abused by an older man during his teenage years, including the impact on his family, education and mental health.

Duration 10:43

The full interview with Roy is held by the West Yorkshire Archive Service

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However, that exciting day that I’d been out and spending all that money on clothes and what have you, I came back home and immediately I was pushed into a chair by my sister and she said, “Why would a man pretending to be a school friend of yours ring up five times since you've been out this afternoon wanting to talk to you?” I knew who it would be straight away. The only person it could be and that was the man that had abused me since I was eleven. And of course immediately I just clammed up shut like a clam. I went bright red of course. I knew instinctively that my sister knew more than she was letting on. My mum was quite bewildered by the whole thing. My mum, she was such a sainted individual; she was the personification as far as she was concerned of virgin births. She had no idea about sex. She couldn't really get her head round.

My mother, she could barely take it all in. You know, this was, it was... She kept saying, “Why didn’t you beat him off? You're a big strapping lad.” Well what she didn't realise and what so many people didn't realise – yeah, I was over six foot. I was tall. I was skinny as a rake. There’s no way I could push a man off. You know, I certainly, I didn’t have the muscle tone or anything like that. I was a skinny boy, you know a teenager. I was totally brainwashed and controlled by fear and that was fear of exposure and the choir master had done quite a bit of research into the family cos he knew my parents’ workday routines and what-have-you. He knew when they were likely to be home and what day. Wednesday afternoon my mum was usually at home and things like that. And he used all this knowledge in a way to control me even further so that I wouldn’t dare to tell anybody and I didn't dare tell anybody and I got so I couldn't look anybody in the face because I thought if they look at me in the face they would be able to read what I am. You know, it’s there for all to see somehow. I was convinced of that. So, you know, from eleven I started to become quite a solemn individual; I walked with head down; shoulders caved in, stooped almost as though I was afraid of my own shadow which to an extent I was.

As soon as my sister had extracted all this information and presented it all in front of my mother. “See what a monster of a son you've got, mummy,” – you know. That was exactly what she said. That was exactly how she wanted me portrayed. I wasn’t a victim as far as she was concerned, you know. I was a perpetrator. In her moment of triumph that’s when she flounced out of the house and left all the debris behind; my mum looking at me as though she's looking at a perfect stranger. She didn’t know what questions to ask and I didn’t know what answers to give. And it was incredibly difficult. She had rung the vicar and the vicar had said, “Oh this is preposterous; a man of his integrity, he couldn’t possibly do such a thing. I will have a word with him, of course Mrs Blanchard.” He said he would ring back later, but... Me mum, she, she needed to get away from me to, you know, compose herself.

Whilst she was out, the vicar had rung back and as soon as I picked the phone up and, you know, said the number – that’s what you did in those days – he just launched into a tirade of abuse to me, saying, “How dare you say such a thing about a man of Mr Endersby’s integrity? He’s such a fine man, and you – you know, what are you?” I said, “I don't know.” He said, “You’re just a dirty little perverted boy from a council estate.”

As I said in the court case I brought, if the vicar had been still alive I would have wanted to somehow get recognition of what he did to me. Because what he actually did... while Endesby, the choirmaster abused my outer physical body; the vicar totally annihilated my inner self. I lost all my self-confidence – everything inside of me just seemed to come crashing down – and all I could sort of visualize on my outside was I'd got it branded across me forehead: ‘Degenerate!’ or something like that.

And it – going into my final year at school and sitting me O Levels – on some of the papers I barely wrote me name and nothing else. There was one O Level I got with a distinction: that was history. I couldn't help it – get that, because I was brilliant at history. I loved it, much to the chagrin of the history master because he had a personal hatred against me. He thought I was a namby boy. And of course he was a big butch rugby player and cricketer and you know... teachers could get away with saying exactly what they felt back then and yeah, I'd either be ‘pansy-boy’ one week, ‘namby-boy’ another or, you know, ‘Little Miss Blanchard’ the week after that. Boy! Did I get a kicking from the rest of the kids!

I got some sympathy from quarters I didn’t expect from a few others. The history master certainly made my life hell. So that was one O Level. The other O Level I got which also – I’m not a very good portrait sketcher or anything like that – but I did have a flair for art and got an O Level in Art and that was it. French, which I did quite enjoy – I was never brilliant at it – I got ‘ungraded’ because I couldn't remember anything. Like I said everything just... I felt like “What's the point? I'm a filthy degenerate pervert! What life is there out there for me anyway?” And… I thought, you know, “I’ll just curl up and die somewhere quite soon” and then I left school.