The kind of dilemmas I face in coming forward include (1) is my own complaint enough - an allegation that one of the three parties under investigation would regularly squeeze my thigh high-up during regular extra coaching sessions as a tongue-in-cheek and slow punishment for getting answers wrong? It's horrible to have to explain it and even worse if it doesn't help the police make a case.(2)Although I know this is wrong, one cannot help having a sense of guilt about betraying Benedictines who, along with abuse, did actually help me a lot, and I have had it said to me by a former old boy contemporary that to go public with any complaint would be a very wicked thing to do. It would certainly upset a lot of people if they were to know.I do entirely sympathise with your dilemma, and have heard similar things expressed by other victims, both at St. Benedict's and elsewhere. Your concerns and reactions are entirely normal for the situation you find yourself in.
Let's deal with the individual points in turn.
Is my own complaint enough? By itself, perhaps not enough for a criminal prosecution. But it might help police discern part of a larger pattern of abuse which enables them to move forward with a prosecution. There's also the matter of Lord Carlile's inquiry which I'm going to discuss again in another article soon.
It's horrible to have to explain it. I wholly sympathise. I've heard the same from others. This is a major reason so few victims ever come forward, and why it is that of those who do come forward it takes so many of them decades to summon the courage. But if you can summon that courage, I think that you will find that in the long run it helps you with the rest of your life, it will be a bit of control you have wrested from those who would have you remain silent and helpless. From what I've seen of other victims, taking power back in this way often does wonders for the person's confidence and self-esteem.
It's even worse if it doesn't help the police make a case. If you don't come forward, it can't possibly help the police. But you know from other arrests and prosecutions that the police have taken an interest, and that their interest is continuing. The chances are that it will help, even if it is only in a small way. And of course, if you don't come forward, there is perhaps an increased chance that other children will end up suffering as you did.
Although I know this is wrong, one cannot help having a sense of guilt about betraying Benedictines who, along with abuse, did actually help me a lot. Gary Glitter had some good songs as well, and those songs gave a lot of enjoyment to people in his day. That doesn't make the abuses right, nor mean that he didn't deserve to go to jail for them. And of course, it was only because they worked themselves into positions of trust and authority that those Benedictines were able to have access to so many children and were so able to do so much damage to them. Some of the monks and priests who didn't actually participate in the abuse are undoubtedly complicit by themselves remaining silent in the face of anything that they have seen and heard. The fact is that the good they did is what they said that they were supposed to do.
I have had it said to me by a former old boy contemporary that to go public with any complaint would be a very wicked thing to do. This old boy is saying that it is OK for priests to abuse children and not OK for the abuse to be reported. I'll leave it to you to decide what form of morality this represents.
It would certainly upset a lot of people if they were to know. Social pressures. Who do you think has been involved in building up those social pressures? Amongst others, it is the very priests who have been involved in the abuses. Clever career paedophiles go to great efforts to burnish their outward appearance of respectability.
Paedophile abusers thrive on secrecy and silence. They rely on their victims not coming forward. The main reason it is so difficult to come forward is that imperative not to tell was imprinted at an emotional level long before your rational mind was sufficiently developed to question and reject an order of this kind coming from somebody in such a position of high authority.
Some victims have gone on to make statements to the police after contacting me privately. The reports that I have had of the interview process are that it is handled sensitively, that time is given where necessary for coffee or smoke breaks to allow the victim to recover his composure after going through a difficult part of the interview, and the officers conducting the interview are specialists in investigating this kind of crime.
If you come forward and live in the London area, you will probably be invited to come to Northwood Police Station to give your statement, and be interviewed by one or more officers of the Northwood Child Abuse Investigation Team.
If you live elsewhere in the country and reaching London is difficult for you, then as I understand it what normally happens is that you will be interviewed by officers from a Child Abuse Investigation Team from your local police force, and your statement and a videotape of the interview is sent to Northwood.
This is what will probably happen if you are a victim of abuse at St. Benedict's. If you happen to have come across this blog having been abused elsewhere, the procedure will of course vary to some extent - it will be a different Child Abuse Investigation team which investigates your case.