Experience of childhood abuse
Ben* was affected by childhood abuse and writes about his participation in a police investigation years later as well as the support he received from Victim Support Scotland.
I could never have guessed that watching a TV programme with my wife one night would bring me to the realisation that I had not been alone in being the victim of abuse many years before. I had always hated school, perhaps it was the golf shoes being thrown at us or the other punishments I was given. The abuse had found a hiding place in my head and never been discussed or dealt with. I had never truly realised the impact the crime had on my life, lifestyle, relationships and my mental health. I struggled with confidence issues, relationships and depression for many years. I never really socialised and only found solace and confidence in alcohol. I struggled to cope with everyday life but never really associated it with the events of my childhood.
Watching the TV programme brought memories flooding back, memories which had been shut away in the dark space in my head for so many years. The sudden realisation that I had not been alone compelled me to contact the police. I made statements and gave further information, becoming part of a larger investigation which it was anticipated would last some time. The investigating officers could not have been more helpful and understanding. They ensured I was given time and information along with contacts for support agencies.
One of the agencies they put me in touch with was Victim Support Scotland and I agreed to see what they could do for me. I have been attending for around two years now. Initially, I attended weekly for intensive support with dealing with the crime itself, the effects it had on my life and moving forward. Initially, sessions were difficult but I grew more and more comfortable and quickly felt more able to speak with supporters. As time went on my need to engage with support volunteers and staff became less frequent, but they were always available to answer questions and provide support when needed.
As time progressed and there were important changes in the investigations, Victim Support Scotland once again increased the level and frequency of the support and then referred me for specialist support when I needed it. It was of great comfort to know that my feelings and reactions were normal and understood.
Victim Support Scotland has helped me every step of the way, from speaking to the police to get updates on the investigation, to providing me with explanations of the process and assurances that they would be there to support me every step of the way. They have helped me move on in life, assisted with the process of dealing with the crime, and supported me with information regarding the criminal proceedings. It has made a difficult subject and process so much easier to deal with knowing that they are there to support me and that I have someone to discuss anxieties with, ask questions or seek advice from.
I finally feel more positive about life and am beginning to deal with the events of the past and the effects it has had on me. I have even felt encouraged to continue and move forward with my small business venture. I will continue to engage with Victim Support Scotland for as long as I need and am extremely relieved to know that they are there for me throughout. I cannot express my gratitude to all the staff and volunteers for what is an invaluable service.
*Name changed to preserve anonymity. Pictures are for illustrative purposes only.