Gary’s story


Gary had been sexually abused by a male teacher for many years during his childhood at primary school. He had never told anyone, as he felt too scared and ashamed. After leaving primary school he grew into an angry and aggressive teenager. He was often in trouble with authority, being suspended from secondary school multiple times and regularly in trouble with the police. By his late 20’s he had been in and out of prison multiple times.

In his early 30’s Gary had a motorbike accident which crushed his pelvis, leaving him unable to walk properly for many months. For the first time since his childhood abuse he felt powerless and afraid. “I had a meltdown and couldn’t stop myself shaking and crying. I wanted to die.” He eventually told his GP about his childhood abuse and was referred to The Green House.

It took Gary a while to let himself trust his counsellor. Initially he felt a combination of anger and crippling shame as he struggled to talk about his past. Over time, Gary began to open up and allow himself to look back at how his abuse had affected him. During one counselling session Gary began to speak about “the kind of guy I might have been” – if he hadn’t been abused as a young boy. This was quite an emotional moment for Gary. He began to make connections between the anger and shame from his experiences of abuse and his violence towards people, as well as his own self-loathing.

Having his motorbike accident had rekindled Gary’s trauma from his abuse, which he had buried for decades with drugs and violence. Through counselling he was able to begin to accept how truly powerless he had felt as a child with his abusive teacher, and how terrified he had been to speak about what had happened, fearing that he would in some way be blamed for the “disgusting and dirty things” that happened.

Towards the end of his counselling Gary began to express a desire to make changes to his life. “I’m tired of being angry all the time and want to mop up some of the mess in my life.” High on his list was a concern that his abuser may have abused other children – a thought which terrified and disgusted Gary. His instinctive desire was to want to take personal revenge on his abuser, but Gary was able to manage his anger far better than he had in the past, and before ending therapy he chose to report his abuse to the police.

Gary was enormously grateful to The Green House for his counselling and wrote in his feedback, “I’d no idea how much my abuse had messed up my life until I fell apart after my bike accident. Thanks for helping me start to get my life back”.