My Story

Trigger warnings: sexual abuse, rape, child abuse

I was groomed. I was identified, selected and groomed. Over years. Deliberately and with intent. This is my story.

He was a teacher at the school I attended. I was not like the other boys. I was different. I didn’t join in the horseplay. I avoided the play-fights, the wrestling and other ‘boyish’ activities. I was not very sporty. I was bookish and quiet. Where most others missed me in the crowd of loud extroverted boys, he saw me. Like a beacon. Flashing in the night sky.

Shortly after my arrival at the school he took an interest in me. He would talk to me as he passed me on the way to his class in the mornings. These passing chats got longer. Deeper.

He was a swimming coach and he encouraged me to try out for the swimming team. I was (and still am an appalling swimmer) eventually I acquiesced. I think it was the slowest freestyle length on the school’s history. He watched my every stroke. He told me to try again next year. I did not. He never stopped asking.

He came to me at break times. Sometimes he would put a hand on my shoulders or around my neck. Sometimes he would come from behind, surprising me, grabbing my neck between his fingers. All in full view of everyone else. It was fine. It must have been fine. Mustn’t it?

There were rumours about him. He was homosexual. I thought there was nothing wrong with that, even then. He had been seen naked with other children from the school, in his bedroom. Why were people looking into his bedroom? These were lies put about because he was homosexual… He was a nice man. He was misunderstood. He cared for the children in the school, especially those who found making friends hard. I liked him.

He was a nice man.

He ran a holiday camp in the school holidays. He would invite everyone to join him and his partner at their holiday home at the coast. It accommodated around 20 to 30 children I think. He pestered me every year to come. I never did. Even though…

He was a nice man.

In my sixth year at the school I did scholar patrol (basically crossing guard duty). He ran the scholar patrol and made me a team leader. He was also my class teacher (home room) and mathematics teacher. We would all stand, and he would ask us times tables, to solve mental mathematics problems etc. If you got it right, you could sit down. If you got it wrong he would smack your bum with a small cricket bat, or a cane, depending on his mood. He always asked me questions I knew. I liked him…

He was a nice man.

In class he kept on asking me to go on the holiday camp. Everyday. I knew he was treating me better than the other kids. If I didn’t go would that treatment change? Who knew? Would he hate me? Would he start beating me? He wouldn’t. Would he?

He was a nice man.

I caved. I agreed to go. I brought the forms home and asked my parents if I could go. Would they please pay him the money? I wanted a seaside holiday…

They agreed. After all…

He was a nice man.

The day arrived. My mother dropped me at the meeting point early in the morning. We piled into the mini-buses and cars that he and his partner had. We drove through the day. We arrived late in the afternoon. What an adventure.

I was given a special room outside with a few of the older boys. I was privileged. I had a fantastic time. We went to the beach almost every day, we had access to a paddle ski that we could use on the lagoon, or those of us with special dispensation could take it into the sea… We swam we played in the lagoon it was fun. He said I should call him by his first name.

He was a nice man.

We went on various excursions and seaside activities, ice cream and sundae eating was practically compulsory. At night we watched movies on the TV in the communal lounge area before going to bed. Towards the end of the holiday we were watching Planet of the Apes, a movie I had wanted to see for some time. Near the start of the movie, he brought me a drink. Tea, if I recall. I don’t remember the movie.

I awake on the couch. It is quiet, and the room is dark. The TV must be off.

He is leaning over the couch kissing me.

I black out.

I am walking towards his room. There is a light on. I see the bed. Is his partner there? I am not sure. I go in. He follows.

I black out.

I walk into my bedroom. The other boys wake up. They are sniggering. One laughs. They know.

I am less sure…

#WhyIDidntReport: What would I say? I don’t know what happened? I was complicit? I couldn’t recall… He was a nice man. He liked me. He made me feel special. How could I betray him?

He was a nice a man.

Many years later…

I am a teenager we are eating family Sunday lunch. The issue of sexual abuse comes up. The conversation washes over me. I sit silently. I swallow. And I haltingly say ‘I think I was abused.’
My mother says, ‘Oh what rubbish!’
I shut up. You see! I knew no one would believe me. Maybe I wasn’t abused? If my own family don’t believe me, who else would? I shouldn’t believe myself. I must have imagined it. What a liar. I am a horrible person!

I mean I can’t even remember it.

I must be delusional.

He was a nice man.

How many others before me?
How many others after me?

How many others?

He was a nice man?

#WhyDidn’tIReport it?


About the post

abuse, human rights, parenting, society


Add yours →

  1. I’m sorry you had to go through that Daniella. 😔

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oww Daniella I’m so sorry you had to go throw that, sexual predators come off as nice charming people to hide behind but their worthless scum !!!
    My heart goes out to you sis. ❤️ 🌹


    Liked by 1 person

  3. It was a long time ago… I am not looking for sympathy. Nothing will change what happened. All that I ask is that you remember this the next time someone comes forward with their story, you listen to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very nicely written post Daniella. I love the way you captured the feelings and expressed them. I would say not only listen to them, but be non-judgemental. Treat their story as it was the truth despite our own feelings and misgivings about it. Often times having at least one person that is non-judgemental can go a long way in healing the wounds inflicted by the rapist, our own doubts and the judgements of people who could not accept the reality of what our story means.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very powerful. I have lived most of my life with someone who was a victim of an assault. Takes guts to divulge that you have been abused and earth-shattering when it is disavowed.


  5. What a terrible thing Daniella. I too was the sort of child as you but was fortunate to not have your experiences. If it’s any slim consolation, my family would likely have reacted the same as yours so try not to bear too much of a grudge against them if you still hold anger deep in your heart. Times change. Hugs, Tanit.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I understand your story so very well. I was abused when I was 13 and I felt terrible because I felt I could not tell anyone, so carried the shame. There was one result, although I knew I should have been born a girl, I also then knew that I had zero sexual interest in guys.

    Liked by 1 person

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