I wrote this at the start of a journal in September 2011, before I had gone to the police with information they had never heard about, at this stage I did not know whether to go to them or not:
The word survival can conjure up many different pictures, perhaps someone dressed up in combat uniform in the jungle, or someone crawling out of a plane wreckage.
The fact is, in my opinion everyone is a survivor, every day has it’s own unique challenge, however some have more to contend with than others.
For me, I am a survivor of sexual, physical and mental abuse that I experienced as a child. The word survive in this sense means I have lived through these traumatic experiences and am no longer powerless in relation to this abuse.
A close friend asked me the other day if I am the type of person I am because of what I experienced. I believe the answer is no, I think I would always have been a stubborn, independent, curious person, however I am of the belief it did change my character. My inability to trust people or believe what I am told seems to be to such a degree that is unacceptable to the majority, however I stand by it, perhaps as I believe it helps me survive the day to day challenges I meet. Additionally the barriers I raise in order to stop people getting close to me is probably as a result of the experiences I faced daily as a child.
The word survive, does not infer that someone has gone through an experience, and can continue through life as though it never happened. Undoubtedly a person surviving an air crash will have concerns about flying again, flashbacks of the event, with different things triggering general nervousness or panic, possibly even making them wary of all types of travel where they are not in control.
The same is true with me. Whilst I am no longer powerless in relation to the abuse I suffered, it can on occasions affect me. I think the word disable is too strong, however it does affect my ability in my reaction to certain things, and I do often experience the feeling of ‘total shutdown’.
I wrote this in the journal in January 2015:
“You need to move on, everybody else has”
These were the words of a Jehovah’s Witness elder to my family who were being stalked by my abuser at a JW assembly just after his reinstatement.
My abuser’s name is Gary Moscrop, and he was my step father after my mum had married him not long after she converted to Jehovah’s Witnesses, despite an elder advising her not to have anything to do with him.
He started abusing me right from the outset. I was only 7 years of age and he continued for 5 years. Then one Thursday night whilst the rest of my family were attending a Witness meeting I was subjected to an episode of abuse that horrified and disturbed me and still does to this day. He was eventually convicted of buggery for what had happened that night. The next morning at the age of 13 I managed to find the words to say I had been sexually abused. He was disfellowshipped from the witnesses on his confession. Up till then I had spoken on a number of occasions of the physical beatings and the elders were contacted and met with me however as it was my word against his, he was believed and I could not form the words to tell of the sexual abuse I was enduring.
For reasons unknown to me it would be another two years before the police were called, and I was only able to tell of the last time I was abused, though not the extent as I was ashamed and embarrased. Sadly my mum did not want to press charges and so all he got was a caution, that was in 1987.
He was reinstated as a Jehovah’s Witness at around the year 2000. I was not informed of this, nor had any apology from him so am unsure how he was able to demonstrate his repentance. At the next assembly he stalked my family who then called me in a distressed state, telling me that the elder who knew the case had said the above.
I wrote to the elders in Brighton congregation explaining that this is not possible to move on, daily we are reminded of what he put us through. To date I have not heard back from any of the elders in Brighton.
At around 2002 I found out he had married a young Filipino girl who was studying with the witnesses and she was pregnant. Immediately I contacted the police and gave them copies of the statements that were taken in 1987. They were very good and went to his house and informed him that they were classing him as a sex offender and he would have limited access to his yet unborn child. Thankfully his new wife kicked him out.
This brought back many memories of what I had been through, and now with children of my own I could not comprehend how anyone could hurt or abuse children in such a way. I went into a deep depression and became suicidal. I went to my GP who referred me to a psychologist, and for 6 months I went through a course of CBT.
This helped a great deal, however I was plagued with flashbacks on a daily basis. I had never spoken to anyone, even my therapists about the abuse I suffered. Eventually I could no longer cope, and suffered a nervous breakdown. I stopped being a JW overnight, resigning as an elder and never going back to any meetings.
I wrote a journal of what was going on in my head, in order to try and make sense of what had happened to me. I then spoke to a close friend of what I had survived. This was in 2011, for the first time in my life I was able to confront my demons, and went back to the police and told them about events nobody had heard about before.
A case was put together and sent to the Crown Prosecution Service who said we had a strong case for the High Court.
On January 8th 2015 he was jailed for 10 years for the offences against me to which I am very happy to see some justice.
[ Newspaper article: http://www.nickfrench.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/pdffrijan16.pdf ]