I grew up in Glasgow and my dad left when I was a baby. My mum met my stepdad when I was 2 years old. He was physically and emotionally abusive towards my mum, my sister and me from the day he moved in.
When I was 11 years old he started to abuse me sexually. My mum knew what was happening but didn’t protect me.
At 13 I stole something from school to be able to see someone in authority to tell them what had happened. I told the police and the headmaster together what was happening at home, I was distraught at having to tell them but thought that they would make it stop. What actually happened was the officer called my stepdad to come and pick me up. I had to get in the car with him and on the way home he fully raped me. After that he raped me every week.
That was not the last time I told the authorities, I regularly ran away, each time I was picked up by the police I told them what was happening, each time they took me back to him.
At nearly 17 years old, I joined the British Army. I managed really well with the regime, I felt safe for the first time, even when under fire in Iraq and Bosnia and felt that I had managed to put this all behind me. I was quite aggressive and often felt angry but the physical activity with my job helped me to manage this.
In 1993 I suffered a serious head injury, I struggled with the rehabilitation, all of my childhood stuff came to the fore again. I reported again to the police, a statement was taken then I never heard anything. It wasn’t until I reported again in 1997 that I found out the officer had lost my statement. This time the case was No Further Actioned by the police in less than a week.
In July 2016 North Yorkshire police approached me. My sister had reported that she was sexually abused by our step-father and the police had decided to take her case and would add my case on. By this time, I was on my second marriage. I was a very angry man and struggled with my feelings and emotions on a daily basis.
North Yorkshire police offered me a referral to IDAS to work with an ISVA, I didn’t have a clue what that was but I agreed. I had my first appointment with Sam two days later. I am not quite sure what she did but everything seemed to get easier, I saw her monthly but she was always available for a call or text if I was struggling. I could also call the helpline, it was so powerful to know that there would be someone who I could speak to if I needed to.
Sam explained to me the whole process, she took the pressure off me, I felt, for the first time, that someone believed me, they didn’t judge me, they didn’t look horrified, they didn’t question my reason for coming forward.
Those sessions totally changed my attitude, my life and the lives of my family. Working with Sam helped me to realise that it wasn’t my fault, she helped me to understand my anger and to be able to talk about it instead of lashing out at those around me.
The sessions were always easy, Sam would come to mine which is where I felt safe, she was always warm and friendly, I don’t think we had a single session where I didn’t cry but I also never had a session when I didn’t laugh as well. It was so helpful to have everything explained, I found the police responded to an email from IDAS much quicker than they did from me.
Sam was with me throughout the whole process explaining it all to me. The case went to court in Edinburgh but unfortunately the verdict was not proven. Sam explained what that meant, that it wasn’t a not guilty just that with the evidence the jury couldn’t be totally sure. Sam continued to support me for another four sessions until I felt I was ready to manage alone.
I always say that Sam and IDAS are my guardian angels, they are the only people / agencies that have been there for me and for that I will always be grateful. I would say to anyone going through this awful situation please get in touch with IDAS, they will help lift that burden and I would like to say a massive thank you to them for everything they do. I don’t think they can ever understand what a difference they make in people’s lives when they are going through these awful situations.