Regular followers of my blog will know that I interviewed Phil Thomas in May 2014 about the release of his debut book Shame which is a true account of his life and the impact both physical and psychologically of his abuse at the hands of a prison officer and church minister Neville Husband. If you would like to read that post for background before reading this interview which deals exclusively with what happened next then click here.
Welcome Phil, it's really great to chat with you again.
There are 500 victims from Medomsley that have come forward 300 of which were sexual abuse in the kitchens and over 200 are in counselling. The turnover of boys in the kitchen was 12 boys every two months I believe that every boy that worked in the kitchens were sexually abused so that would mean over 1000 victims of sexual abuse over 'Husbands' 16 year tenure.
Do you think your reader audience for Shame has changed in light of the increased information available to the public, by that I mean do you think people have become more inquisitive?
After the first trial of Husband the police told us that the only recourse we had was to sue the Home Office. But then they put every obstacle in our way. They took us through every court in the land all the way to the House of Lords. I came forward in 1996 to get help with what was going on in my head and not once was I or any other victim offered counselling or any other help until 2009. But things have changed since then, all victims are offered some form of help as soon as they come forward.
After leaving the prison service Husband went on to be ordained in the united reformed church were he continued to abuse children. The church would not condemn him or comment on anything he did.
Do you think in light of the publicity and your work supporting the victims, there is a reduced risk of something like this happening again and going unpunished for so long?
Shame took me almost three years to write I had to keep leaving it and get myself into the right frame of mind to come back to it again. Writing Shame was like reliving everything over and over again. I do have a follow-up to Shame in the pipeline which tells the story of how we got justice and how many friends who were abused by Husband and who I think of as brothers, are doing today.
My favourite parts of my book are all the shenanigans I got up to when I was a child before Medomsley even though growing up was hard I had some great fun with my friends.
What are you currently reading and why did you choose it?
At the moment I am reading and reviewing a lot of non-fiction books on authonomy.
I have read Shame twice now, in addition to reading the first draft on authonomy in 2013. I am in awe of the strength and courage it took, and still takes, to deal with the aftermath of abuse. I hope that your search for closure with the Operation Seabrook investigation helps to bring some inner peace for you and the other victims.
Thank you so much for sharing more details of a very personal traumatic experience with us.
If you would like to read Shame it is available on Amazon UK priced at just £1.19.
Rukia Publishing author Phil Thomas is an advocate of indie authors and we are proud to work alongside him.