‘Carl’ was abused as a child by a paedophile ring for 9 years. Now raising the profile for male survivors, hoping they will find their voice and start their own recovery.
What photographs will the exhibition be using?
We will be using two different sets of pictures.
• Set one – sent in by survivors or families of victims:
These could be pictures of survivors / victims themselves as a children at the time of the abuse, or (if people did not want their own picture displayed) it could be a picture of something personal (i.e. a special place, a toy, an animal etc) that represents them or their loved one.
• Set two – generic photographs for those that don’t wish to send in anything for themselves and for those that remain unknown.
These generic photos will be either white flowers or balloons. On these generic photographs we will also have quotes from survivors that have sent them in.
So what do we need to make this work:
• People to spread the word to survivors, survivor groups and families who might have lost children due to abuse.
• Encourage them to take part, they don’t need to send in any personal information if they don’t want to.
• Submit a picture (via email or post) for inclusion in the exhibition – this can be a picture of you as a child at the time of the abuse, or a picture of something that means something to you, that represents you or your loved one. If you submit a photograph of yourself, please confirm that you give us your permission to use it in the exhibition.
• If you want to, include your first name and the age in which the abuse took place – we can add this to the photos if you would like us to (this is a personal choice, and you don’t have to send these details).
• Send us any quotes or sayings that stick in your mind from the abuse – we will include these on the generic photographs and will represent the things we were told as children by our abusers.
What help and support do I need now?
• We need accurate statistics on child abuse in the UK. We need to break it down by year if possible going back as far as we can. We also need it broken down into the different types of abuse and the numbers of children that died as a result of abuse.
• We need a logo designed, and several people have suggested a Butterfly. The logo needs to be something that we could possibly turn into a pin which could be used to generate additional funds for the charities.
• We need sponsorship. Any money raised will go directly to the charities, however we will need sponsorship for the project as a whole with either funds or goods in kind. We will particularly need photographic printing, display materials such as stands etc, printing etc.
• We need to arrange a venue. If anyone has any contacts with large prominent venues. The Tate Modern would be ideal.
• We need to arrange publicity for the project itself to get the message out there and survivors can contribute if they choose to.
The boy I used to be:
I was a frightened, lonely boy, no one cared.
A sweet in a bag to be handed out and shared.
They came in the night and they came in the day.
Myself and my friend were always their prey.
We were broken, isolated, we were their property.
Used and abused, just a shared commodity.
I endured the humiliation and the pain.
The hurt, the guilt, the fear and the shame.
I was hit alot, it broke my body.
Then the kissing, touching, to them I was nobody.
The hurt me and broke me each time I was raped.
But in my mind I was elsewhere, trying to escape.
My bruises and injuries were there for all to see.
My teachers, doctors, even my mum did not help me.
Years of hell I had to survive.
But somehow I made it, I’m here and I’m alive.
It’s 32 years since the last assault.
Hiding the secret, thinking it was my fault.
I was small and helpless, there was nothing I could have done.
I had to do as I was told whilst they had their fun.
But they had the power, the power over me.
I was trapped, locked in and they held the key.
It’s now time to use the H word, a powerful word HATE.
I would like to say it to their face, but it’s now too late.
I HATE what they did to me, I HATE what they made me do.
I HATE the remembering, reliving but I HATE the secrets too.
I HATE the flashbacks, the nightmares after all these years.
I HATE the pain, the guilt, the shame and the tears.
It’s a long, bumpy and painful road to drive.
But I have to do it if I want to thrive.
Thinking about it all burns in my heart.
But writing it down for me is a start.
The abuse has left me with issues to resolve.
But I will persevere until the problems solved.