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AIBU to submit evidence to the enquiry into sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools, even though it was over 20 years ago?

(25 Posts)
AristotlesTrousers Thu 21-Apr-16 09:41:41

I was abused by a boy I went to school with over twenty years ago. I was seventeen. He used to coerce/bully/humiliate/blackmail me into playing sex games and made my life hell for a year. I doubt I'll ever get any justice for what happened, because there's no evidence and it would just be my word against his.

The Women's Equalities Committee are accepting written submissions for evidence, and I'm pretty certain that my experience is still relevant to today's teenagers. However, I am neither a teenager myself, nor a parent of teenagers (mine are still little), or a teacher or anybody who works with teenagers. Do you think I'd still be able to submit something?

I don't expect anything to happen as a result, but just want to add my voice to the others and make a point about the long-term effects of abuse. However, I don't want to detract from the voices of today's youngsters, so don't want to waste anybody's time reading it (and the time it would take me to write it) if it isn't going to be relevant.

Just wondering what others think. WIBU to submit evidence anyway?

Link here:
www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/women-and-equalities-committee/news-parliament-2015/sexual-harassment-and-sexual-violence-in-schools-launch-15-16/

MattDillonsPants Thu 21-Apr-16 11:33:44

YANBU and I hope they've made provision for historical accounts. If they have I will be adding my own! It's about time this came up...about time something was done about it!

Thank you for the link. I had numerous experiences including being forced to kiss a 6th former when I was 13, held down and groped by boys in my class and others.

AristotlesTrousers Thu 21-Apr-16 12:04:29

I'm sorry that happened to you MattDillonsPants. flowers

I think the issue been a problem for decades and nobody's ever really addressed it. People just don't seem to want to talk about it, putting it down to 'boys will be boys' etc. In my case the boy portrayed himself as the victim and painted me as an unstable liar (though the depression I was already suffering from because of previous bullying didn't help). I didn't have the self-confidence or the support system to deal with it at the time, but I do today!

I've been playing catch-up all my life, because of the mental health issues that ensued from the abuse I was subjected to. Thankfully, I am very stable thesedays and have been for a long time, but I still get quite angry at times that I was never heard.

The guidelines for written submissions look a bit daunting though. I hope I can cobble something together that looks half-decent. Still, it's positive action, isn't it? If nothing else it'll be cathartic.

Anybody else thinking about submitting evidence?

herecomethepotatoes Thu 21-Apr-16 12:58:59

Happily / fortunately / luckily, I don't have any evidence to submit but I think you should. Without putting any pressure whatsoever on you, I hope it would be a cathartic experience as you mentioned.

I've already changed my mind. If you don't think anything will come of it then perhaps you're putting yourself through unnecessary grief when the best thing you can do is put it behind you. Don't be a victim, be a survivor, IYSWIM.

If you think it would have a positive effect for you then do it and happily accept support from here, family or whoever can offer it.

I realise this is a bumbling, nonsense post with a complete 180 in the middle from someone who has never had an experience like yours, but I didn't want to read and run.

flowers

MuddlingMackem Thu 21-Apr-16 13:18:00

YANBU.

Like herecomesthepotatoes this is not relevant to me, and I don't know of any instances concerning other people from my schooldays, but whenever it comes to any type of crime I always say that it should be reported, even trivial thefts. If people don't report then there is no way of determining the scale of the problem.

With something like this I hope a lot of people submit historical accounts as it will be in your face proof of how endemic this is.

AristotlesTrousers Thu 21-Apr-16 17:29:27

I get what you're saying, herecomethepotatoes. I think I've moved on with my life enough for it not to affect me too much, so I don't think I'd find it too stressful. I suppose I'd see it as a way towards somehow laying it to rest. I write a lot, too, so that's another outlet, but it's hard when somebody has affected your life so negatively to know what to do, when you know they've done wrong, but you just can't prove it. I want to use my experience to do something positive. I don't actually think anything will come of it if I submit evidence; I expect my words will be a drop in the ocean, but I feel that if I do this then somewhere in the world there will be evidence of what he did to me.

If people don't report then there is no way of determining the scale of the problem.
I agree, MuddlingMackem It's hard to know exactly how much this happens. I'm pretty sure nobody I went to school with knew what had happened to me, though I doubt I would have been believed anyway. Teenagers can be so powerless.

sergeantmajor Thu 21-Apr-16 18:32:02

Sorry to hear that you had this experience.
Perhaps the boy/man who did this to you has done this to others. And could still be doing it. By reporting it, you may be able to stop it.
(I realise that the process of reporting it may prove traumatic for you, so I don't mean to guilt-trip you by suggesting this! At all!).
But at the very least your suffering would be recorded.

AristotlesTrousers Thu 21-Apr-16 19:41:52

I have wondered about whether he might have been inappropriate with other people, sergeantmajor, but I don't think I've got enough to go on to report him to the police.

I suppose I'm thinking that by writing down what happened and submitting it via the enquiry would be a safe way of making sure it was documented somewhere and I'd never have to deal with the fallout.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to report him to the police, but I don't think I'm brave enough to deal with the consequences of that. I think it'd open a whole can of worms.

I'm happy for people to try and talk me into it. I wish I could be braver.

I have people I can talk to about this, but I've never actually told my partner about it. My family were next to useless when it happened (though, to be fair, they weren't aware of the full facts). I'd also feel a bit bad for the family of the boy concerned. He's married with kids now, and he may well have changed <thinking optimistically>

By God I'd love him to have to face up to his actions though.

DeadGood Thu 21-Apr-16 19:47:59

If you are thinking about it, go for it.
It's so tough isn't it? When you tentatively tell someone about what you have been through, and they offer no support, it makes you not want to tell them anything. I'm sorry your family weren't more helpful, for what they did know, even if it wasn't everything. X

VestalVirgin Thu 21-Apr-16 20:21:42

I think it is relevant. If they can't use it you can put it on a blog somewhere, to show other victims that they are not alone.

The more people read about what is really happening, the more likely they are to believe teenagers now.

AristotlesTrousers Thu 21-Apr-16 20:40:48

Thanks deadgood. Most of the teachers were pretty unhelpful too, although there were a couple who were nice. Probably didn't help It that at the time I didn't realise it was abuse. I assumed because I fancied him that I had no choice but to do what he asked. Think he did, too.

You're right, VestalVirgin. It can't do any harm, can it?

If I only had evidence I could go to the police, but after so many years, is it worth going through it just to be told there's nothing they can do? Part of me really wants to, but realistically I'd be flogging a dead horse. That's why I thought of submitting evidence for this investigation instead. At least nobody gets hurt this way. I guess it's kind of a risk-free way of doing something, and doing something positive that might make a difference to somebody.

Funnily enough, I have been looking into writing a blog, but I think I'd have to post that anonymously, in case I get into any trouble.

AristotlesTrousers Fri 22-Apr-16 15:47:19

Just bumping this for further opinions. Having second thoughts and wondering whether this is the right couse of action. Am I just seeing this as a safe way to take some sort of action?

Has anybody on here ever reported anybody to the police for historic sex abuse/rape without any physical evidence, and what was the outcome?

(Also wondering whether AIBU is the right place for this.)

ForalltheSaints Sat 23-Apr-16 07:30:58

I think you should make a submission to the Inquiry. If you are making a submission and have any ideas how no-one else should go through what you experienced, it will be valuable.

I don't think however you can expect police action- if you wish that I suggest going to the police or seeking legal advice.

Duckdeamon Sat 23-Apr-16 07:40:11

I'm very sorry you went through that.

The committee won't expect individuals to follow the set format. I'd suggest keeping it short and just briefly explain how the school was unsafe (eg things the school did/didn't do), that what happened has had long term negative impacts on you, and any suggestions you have for how things could be improved for young people now.

Also suggest being clear about what you wish to submit "in confidence" (the website or committee clerk should have info on if/how they handle information people don't want to be mentioned in reports or published)

manicinsomniac Sat 23-Apr-16 07:40:38

Do it.

There's currently a teacher (long retired) awaiting trial for sexual abuse accusations while he was working in a boarding school in the 1980s. The boys who came forward are in their late 30s and 40s. It's still being investigated.

Duckdeamon Sat 23-Apr-16 07:45:06

I don't think, however, that a long account to a committee like thag would be a good way to seek "catharsis" or roundabout way to seek some kind of action.

it might be helpful to seek help from a specialist organisation and/or counsellor.

AristotlesTrousers Sat 23-Apr-16 14:18:54

Thanks for the advice re: the committee submission, Duckdeamon. The format does seem quite daunting. I'm used to doing all sorts of other writing, but I've never done anything like this before. I'm going to take your advice and try to keep it fairly brief, too, because you're right - I don't want to invest too much into it, or expect any results.

ForalltheSaints I'm not expecting anything like the police getting involved if I do this, but was wondering whether they might be useful at some stage. Sadly, I fear there's not a lot they could do, anyway, though I'd really love to be able to report him formally.

That's reassuring to hear, manicinsomniac. I think I could only hope that the boy/man concerned has behaved inappropriately elsewhere so that my account could add to a caseload of evidence if I did go to the police at some stage. As it stands, it would only be my word against his.

BeccaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 24-Apr-16 12:50:06

Hi all - we're going to move this over to Relationships at the OPs request.

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Sun 24-Apr-16 13:46:32

Hi op, I think you are very courageous to consider doing this. If you feel you can go through with it then I think you should. Your posts indicate that you did report it, to the school at least? And that the outcome or how it was handled was poor? I would imagine that would be useful to the enquiry to provide context on how things have changed/progressed in these reports being handled over the years, or not as the case may be. If you were badly let down back then, & the same still happens now for many children & young adults, I'd imagine that this could well be a useful point of reference for those considering the submissions & help inform their conclusions etc.

thanks I'm sorry you experienced this abuse.

OnTheRise Sun 24-Apr-16 15:44:12

If I only had evidence I could go to the police, but after so many years, is it worth going through it just to be told there's nothing they can do? Part of me really wants to, but realistically I'd be flogging a dead horse. That's why I thought of submitting evidence for this investigation instead. At least nobody gets hurt this way.

If you want to report it to the police it most definitely is worth doing.

There is evidence of what happened to you: it's your statement.

The police will investigate it to some degree. It might not result in a conviction or even a court case: but they will investigate it.

I reported the sexual abuse I went through as a child to the police a couple of years ago. They were really supportive and helpful. They took statements from me, and went to speak to the abuser, but he'd died and so that was that. But I am very glad I did it, because the police were so appalled and supportive. It helped me a lot.

AristotlesTrousers Sun 24-Apr-16 19:23:46

Thanks BeccaMumsnet. smile

I never actually told the school about the sexual abuse, Tension. They were aware that there was a problem between me and the boy, but they wrongly assumed that it was just that I was being a hysterical, heartbroken teenage girl who was dealing with rejection by acting out (I was a self-harmer, and I used to get drunk during school hours as a way of escaping the environment).

My 'acting out' was in part a reaction to past bullying that the school had never dealt with (and were possibly only partly aware, if that), and the fact that I was being painted as a bit of a bunny boiler by the boy. In fact, one of the teachers even dragged me into a cupboard to yell at me for putting him in a position where he'd felt he had to go no-contact with me in the first place hmm. If I do submit evidence, I'll mention the culture within the school that meant I was unable to seek help and went under the radar. I'm sure it's a problem in many schools still today.

Good to know you had a positive experience, OnTheRise. I would so love to report the boy/man to the police, but I fear it would only be turned back onto me again and nobody would believe me. I'm basing this partly on an incident during the same school year, where I was raped outside a nightclub (during my destructive phase of binge drinking and general bad behaviour), and I had a very unpleasant experience when I went to the police over that.

I think I'd be able to deal with the fallout if I did go to the police, but my main hurdle would be telling DP about all of it, and hope that he'd be on board too. I've never mentioned any of this to him. Not really sure how to tackle that one, as I couldn't really do it in secret.

I've started writing up my evidence for the committee, which I will submit. As I say, I don't expect anything to happen as a result, but it's really important to me that what happened to me is documented somewhere.

Apologies, that was longer than I intended.

blueberrypie0112 Sun 24-Apr-16 19:49:00

Going back to the original post. I think no matter what happens or how long it took you, you should speak out what happened to you. Because if people stay quiet about it, nothing will get better

AristotlesTrousers Mon 25-Apr-16 09:17:41

You're absolutely right, blueberry. I'm definitely going to submit evidence, and am about halfway through writing it all up!

Thanks for all the responses; you've really helped me make my mind up. smile

AristotlesTrousers Mon 25-Apr-16 09:20:54

Am also going to go with your anonymous blog idea, VestalVirgin, as the more info out there, the better.

AristotlesTrousers Fri 06-May-16 13:46:56

So I sent my evidence in, with an account of what happened to me, and some suggestions as to how to tackle the problem, and have had a nice reply to say thank you. I don't know what, if anything, will happen next.

I've managed to tell my DP about the enquiry and the evidence I sent (I was able to use the response I got yesterday to broach the subject), but his reply was, "That's really good. I'm going upstairs to get changed now." confused

Would've been nice to get more of a response, because now I feel that's sort of put the lid on me taking it further, e.g. reporting to the police sad

I really wanted him to ask me what happened (he doesn't know any details, and this was the first time I've mentioned it) and get really riled up and say, "What a bastard. What do you want to do?"

I don't think he got it at all. sad

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