|Boy on the bottom to the right is Ray|
Shame is a story of my true experiences. It starts with a childhood filled with utter degradation and neglect. It proceeds through an inevitable trail of court appearances, borstal and prison incarcerations. However, this story perhaps really begins when I was sexually abused by a warder in one of the borstals I was sent to – Medomsley. This was a horrific event for a boy who with no sexual experience at all, of any sort, until that point. (I was always too dirty and smelly for any girl to look twice at me!) This assault set the tone for the rest of my life. It gives the book its title – Shame.
The shame that I felt that I had not fought back when I was attacked, that I had given in to the most degrading and horrifying abuse haunts me still. In this book I allow the reader into the life of a victim of abuse and what happens long after the headlines have faded. My abuse at the hands of a paedophile, now dead, who has been described as ‘more prolific than Jimmy Saville’, has coloured every part of my life since I was seventeen.
My story takes the reader from my first forays into crime (climbing out of the bedroom window to steal bread and milk from doorsteps to eat), to the night that I turned up at the home of Neville Husband, my abuser, with a gun, determined to shoot him dead for what he had done to me and to other boys. It is a ‘warts and all’ look at the youth offender penal system and highlights the good and the bad of that system. It covers my escapes from borstal and the harsh treatment I received from the courts.
It examines, without self pity, what happens to a child who is allowed to grow up feral, to be beaten in front of the police by his mother as a punishment for his crimes, and to be beaten every day by that mother whether or not he had done anything wrong.
|Ray and Denise on the right|
This is an observation of how the world was for a young boy who was abused first by his mother and then by various other people in authority, but who throughout his childhood steadfastly believed that adults were always right.
Why did you title your book Shame?
The reason for the title 'Shame' is firstly the all consuming shame I felt about the things he made do and the fact that I hadn't kicked and screamed until he stopped? But I was just a terrified boy and he was very strong and had shown that he could and would kill me if i didn't do what he wanted. Therefore I became completely compliant.
I was encouraged to write my story by an abuse councillor who told me it would help me deal with it.
Your story depicts some devastating experiences, how did you find the process of writing about these very personal experiences?
It was really hard for me to write the book. At first I spent a lot of time crying to myself in a log cabin in Wales. The problem being it was really hard too separate the boy I was then from the man I am now and it still is every time I think about what happened back then I become that boy again.
What next for Shame, can we expect to see any form of dramatisation?
There will be a follow up to shame called 'Shame - the guilty and the survivors.' This will cover our long fight for justice and the exposure of the cover up by the police and home office. It will also give an insight into the psychological damage caused to the many victims and how they have coped gone on to live with it.
I do hope to get 'Shame' turned into a docu-drama and I have approached a few film company's. I have also written and produced five songs that would accompany the docu-drama so fingers crossed it will be produced.
What made you decide to become an ‘indie’ [self published] author?
I chose to self publish mainly for financial reasons, but also to retain control of my book.
Can you tell us more about the other victims of abuse that you are helping?
Over the last 11 years I have met many of Husbands victims and I have become firm friends with them all. We all connect really well with each other, and I am proud to call them my brothers. We attended every court case together, all the way to the House of Lords, where we managed to change the statute law. As a group we have been on holidays in the Welsh mountains and this is where we wrote and recorded songs together the lyrics expressing our emotions and feelings. We all had a great time relaxing and singing in safety. Keeping in touch on a daily basis with this group of people has been the best therapy anybody could ask for, because we know each others 'shame.'
What can others do to help/support victims, who can they contact?
If any body wants to report abuse suffered at Medomsley they can call Durham police on 101, quoting operation seabrook and ask to speak to Paul Gaundry. Or any office involved in operation Seabrook.