I’d been in Scouting since I was 8 years old. It had become such an important part of my life, that as soon as I could, I become a young leader at age 14 with a Cub group while I attended Explorers.
Upon joining, an adult leader quickly became attached to me and built a ‘friendship’. In hindsight I can see that be was clearly grooming me, buying me gifts etc. I told him I wasn’t comfortable talking outside of sessions but he just wouldn’t stop and made out that he’d be lonely and wouldn’t cope without me. I wanted to tell somebody but I was embarrassed as nothing particularly bad had happened and who could I even tell?? The entire group of leaders were all his family.
Over a period of time, this escalated into sexual abuse and an abusive ‘relationship’. He’d meet me before and after meetings, as well as frequently taking me out to ‘support my mental health’. He became extremely controlling of me. I couldn’t leave else he’d threatened to kill himself/ tell the police.
Other leaders were aware the rules were broken by him. Perhaps they were not aware of the extent to which they were, but regardless, they chose to do nothing.
Eventually I reached out to my Explorer leader about what had been happening. Rather than taking it seriously, they told me to try and sort it out between us. They were friends with my abuser. My Explorer leader began to groom me too and would spend a lot of time with me, inviting me to their house. Once my abuser had started essentially stalking me, they finally encouraged me to go to the police.
My Explorer leader did get removed from scouting after investigation. I’m aware that they did exactly the same to another girl a few years previously. Neither of us can say anything about it due to the hostility of the leader’s family.
Which is the same with the family of my abuser. He got sent to prison. But despite that, I faced rumours stemming from grown adults blaming me for what happened.
Scouts still have not completed their internal investigation.
I have been left with PTSD from the trauma and such anger that Scouts have just ignored what happened to me in order to protect their leaders. It felt like a group of families just trying to protect each other while compromising the safety of the children in their care and it has to change.