The Devil’s Advocate – Child abuse and the men in black.
A survivor’s account of the failings of Government, the Churches, Religious Orders and our Criminal Justice System, in understanding and responding to victims of sexual abuse in the UK.
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All proceeds from sales of this book will be donated to The Lantern Project – a charity supporting victims and survivors of child abuse.
Devils Advocate Library is a new imprint established by author Graham Wilmer MBE, dedicated to publishing books about the impact of Psychosexual Trauma in Childhood and how such trauma impairs development into adulthood. ‘The Devil’s Advocate – Child abuse and the Men in Black’ is the first such title to be published by this new imprint. Other titles will follow, which will also be featured here.
Contact the author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Title: The Devil’s Advocate - Child abuse and the Men in Black
Author: Graham Wilmer MBE
© Copyright 2014 Graham Wilmer MBE
First Edition Published 2014 by Devil’s Advocate Library
ISBN 978-0-9928651-0-8 - RRP £12.00
Typeset and design by Rory Wilmer
Printed and Bound in Great Britain
By Andrew Kilburn Print Services Ltd., Leeds.
Quote: “Shocking, disturbing and courageous.” Peter Garsden – President – Association of Child Abuse Lawyers ACAL.
About the Author:
Graham Wilmer was born in Bedford, England in 1951. His primary education showed him to be a promising pupil with a bright future, but his enrolment at a Salesian Catholic Grammar school put paid to all of that. At the age of 16, he disclosed to his headmaster that one of his teachers had been sexually abusing him for the previous two years, and he needed help. Instead of helping, the Salesian Order closed ranks, protected the teacher and swore Graham to silence. The psychological trauma and the lack of support after his disclosure resulted in him failing all of his GCE ‘O’ level exams, and he was thrown out of the school. His parents were not told of the abuse. For many years afterwards, Graham suffered with mental health problems, but his natural talent as a writer enabled him to find work, and he went on to develop a successful career as an aerospace journalist. In 1998, Graham, suffered a serious mental breakdown, caused by the re-emergence of memories of the abuse he had suffered as a child. Several years of therapy followed, during which time Graham, with the aid and support of his wife Barbara, established the Lantern Project, a support service for other victims of child abuse. Graham developed his charity into a nationally recognised organisation, which is now funded by the NHS, and is a partner agency with many other statutory organisations, including the Metropolitan Police Child Abuse Command. He has written numerous books on the subject of Child Abuse, and he was awarded an MBE in 2013 for ‘Services to Victims of Abuse’. He has recently been appointed to advise the newly formed National Safeguarding Board of the Church of England. Graham and Barbara have three grown up children and two foster children. They live in New Brighton in Wirral.
I have written this book to help expose the catastrophic shortcomings of the United Kingdom’s government, the Churches, religious institutions and our criminal justice system, as they attempt to deal with the scale and consequences of sexual abuse in our country. The book is far from the full picture, but it should serve to remind those who hold power in our nation that, as a society, we are not dealing well with the enormity of the problem, which remains hidden in plain sight, despite the courage of the many victims who come forward, even though that usually means they face hostility, resentment and denial, rather than the compassion, understanding and acknowledgement they need and deserve. The cost of sexual abuse in our society, in whatever way one measures it, is on a scale that makes it both a national disgrace and a national health epidemic, neither being something that should be tolerated by any government, but tolerated it is.
What follows is not just about me, although it tells my story. It is about the ongoing failure of society as a whole to respond to and support victims of sexual abuse. It is also about the many conflicting and deep routed myths and negative perceptions about sexual abuse: what it really is and the devastating consequences of its long- term impact. Some of you may find the repetition of facts a little tedious, but I ask you to bear with it and read on, as it will help those of you who have not suffered the blight of sexual abuse understand the seemingly never-ending nightmare that survivors struggle with on a daily basis. For us, the story never ends, but with the right kind of support you can reach a level of recovery that is sustainable, and from that point onwards you become the master of your history, rather than its slave. For those victims who still struggle in silence, despite what I say about the lack of effective support services, you have nothing to fear from speaking out, other than fear itself. So, if you want help to tell your story, but don’t know where to start or what to expect, contact me and I will help you.
Graham Wilmer MBE
There are many people who helped me recover from the abuse I suffered in my childhood, especially my family - Barbara, Rory, Eve and Zachary, without who I would not be here. Neither would The Lantern Project, which I set up with their help and fellow survivor David Williams in 2003. Since then, the Lantern Project, with the support and dedication of our amazing volunteers, peer mentors and trustees, has helped many hundreds of other survivors, and is now a contracted NHS specialist service provider for victims and survivors of sexual abuse. So, to everyone who has helped me, in whatever way, I offer you my grateful and sincere thanks. I would especially like to thank Detective Constable John Hobbs, of Surrey Police, not only for his dogged pursuit of the truth, but also for continuing to help and support me, long after the trial of my abuser was over. I would also like to acknowledge the many other Salesian survivors who made contact with me after my first book was published and offered their support and solidarity in my quest for justice, some of whose testimonies also appear in this book. I would also like to thank Nicky and her family for their unwavering support during and after the trial, and my friend Noel Swift for his support, and for allowing me to include his story. I would also like to pay tribute to The Lantern Project’s volunteers and trustees, especially David, Peter, Keith, Jill, Pippa, Barbara, Rory, Eve, Zach, Siobhán, Gary, Liz, Judy, Carl, Christine, Alan, Pat, Sue, Ray, Candida and Angela, all of who have helped make the project what it is today, along with the solicitors who have guided me, Stephen Wilde, Peter Garsden and Edward Craven. I also want to thank Alex and Alice Parsons, who donated the assets of their charity, the Wirral Fellowship, to the Lantern Project to help us continue our work at a time when we were struggling financially. I also want to acknowledge my colleagues in the Stop Church Child Abuse Working Party: Anne Lawrence, Phil Johnson, Jo Kind, Lucy Duckworth (all of MACSAS), Sue Cox of Survivors Voice Europe, Richard Scorer of Pannone LLP Solicitors, Peter Saunders of NAPAC and the campaign’s Chairman, David Greenwood of Switalskis LLP Solicitors, and everyone else who is helping and supporting the SCCA campaign. I am also grateful to the following press and media: BBC, The Hendon Times, The Surrey Herald, The Guardian, The Australian, The Independent, The Liverpool Echo, The Age (Australia), The Mercury (Australia), and The Catholic Herald. I would also like to say thank you to my old school friend Ed Murphy for his thoughtful editing and patient proofreading of the manuscript. Finally, I would like to say a special thank you to Eric Baggaley, for his courage, wisdom and friendship, during a very difficult time. Without his skill as a mediator, and his courage in coming forward in the first place, this book could not have been written.
Media copyright credits:
BBC: page 226, page 300
The Surrey Herald: page 134
The Guardian: page 149
The Australian: page 193, page 318
The Liverpool Echo: page 311, page 313
The Age (Australia): page 317
The Mercury (Australia): page 319
The Catholic Herald: page 323
Photo copyright credits:
Front cover – Rory Wilmer
Rear cover – HM The Queen & BCA Ltd.