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  • Sexual Abuse

    What an amazing project. Thank you for this. My own story is from the 1960s or maybe early 1970s. A time that people say was ‘different’…turns out not so different. I was a cub scout in the ****** troop. It was well run with a kind akela. However, there was an odd man who seemed to be senior to everyone else, we only knew him as ‘*****’. He wore a tan scout uniform, mostly shorts, I remember his bare legs. He had a position of authority but none of us knew why or who he was. He would always appear at camps, but never seemed to have a role.
    One camp, a friend and I came out in a rash. Akela thought it was a heat rash and would go away. ***** said it might be more serious, infectious even, and we should spend the night in his tent, just in case. My friend and I slept in a seperate ‘room’ in the tent. It was full of books and toys.
    In the morning, ****** came into our ‘room’ with a washing up bowl full of water and a flannel. He said it was time for our morning wash. We stripped naked. I said I didn’t want a wash. ***** took my friend into a different compartment in the tent, and told me to read a book. I remember staring at the pages, unable to take anything in. I felt helpless, that something wrong might be going on, but I didn’t know what, and didn’t know what to do.
    Many years later, this came back to me, in murky images and sensations. I don’t know if anything happened to me. But I do know I’m haunted by guilt, that I did nothing to help my friend. I have tried to find him online, but I can’t. I wanted to apologise and to ask him if anything had happened to me as well.
    I was always terrified of camps after that. In those days we’d be sent away regularly in the holidays, to ‘adventure camps’ or cub camps. I hated every second, and would often just try to stay in my bed.
    Years later, I contacted the Scouts about the incident. I got a placatory email saying that they cared and would look into it. I heard nothing. I’ve contacted them half a dozen times. I get an apology or a note saying there’s been a staffing change and the new team would look into it for me. But they just seem to be giving me the brush off. They did contact me and say they had no record of anyone called ***** ever having existed at all. For a moment I thought I’d dreamed the whole thing. But I didn’t.