“Where do I go to tell someone? I’m not 14 anymore … I’m an adult, 25 years old and a Police Officer. What will people think of me? How wound my family react to this? Hell! How will my work react? No, I can’t tell anyone. It’s been 12 years so another couple won’t hurt”.
“Come on Charlie, pull yourself together now, how will you support others and urge them to support prosecutions? You need to tell someone. You need to get this reported once and for all. Really, it won’t be as bad as you think. You can do it. Trust me, heck I’ve known you the longest …”
“OK, OK … so what I’ll do for now is report via the NSPCC and get advice. Sounds good?”
“It’s a start, and remember I am always here for you … I never go away”.
“Thank you Charlie, there is a specialist team currently within the NSPCC looking at historic sexual assaults against young people in the military cadets. Because of the information you have passed to me, I will need to talk to my manager for advice, I expect that this will need to be passed over to the police.”
“Mr Carmichael, my name is Ian Saunders, one of the managers here at the NSPCC. My colleague has advised me of a historic Sexual Assault against you. This is something that we would want to report to the police. Are you happy with us doing this on your behalf?”
That day was the beginning to an end. The start of the final chapter of a deep rooted secret that at on many occasions I thought would come with me to my grave. An assault that took place over twelve years ago and abuse that spanned over four years. This is my personal story but one of many others who have yet to share theirs. I’m not a victim as that would mean he won, nor am I a survivor as there have been long lasting effects that until recently have held a grip on me. In fact, I’m just a stubborn little bastard. Please note that this is not a story to get myself into self pity or receive sympathy. This is going to be many things for me:
1. A way to tell my family
2. A way to stop me from going mad
3. A way to help and support others who I come across in my role as a Police Officer
4. Try and reduce this from happening to others … Because lets face it we cannot stop this sort of thing, so prevention is key.
Firstly, why so long? Why has it taken over a decade to report this? Embarrassment. Denial. Misunderstood. I’m sure there are many different reasons why people don’t want to report sexual assaults against themselves, but I needed to finally be open about it. For many years my goal and ambition was to join the police. In 2017 I finally became a Police Officer. I was undergoing my Initial Police Recruit Training and we had our sexual offences week, learning about what is correctly construed as some of the most heinous crimes against a person or any gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity. Within the class we discussed assaults against young people. This involved talking about grooming and other aspects of Child Sexual Exploitation. Something triggered in my head and I knew that aspects of my life had actually involved me being groomed. I ran the scenarios in my head and agreed with the Police Officer within, disagreed with him, denied it, disagreed again and finally came to terms that I was groomed and sexual assaulted as a child.
I want to clearly put out there that the assaults were not conducted by any family members but that of a sad, lonely and pathetic man. This is how it went …
My brothers were a huge inspiration to me and I wanted to follow in their foot steps and work in the Military. The younger out of the two was a member of the Air Training Corps (ATC), known more widely as the Air Cadets. Growing up I would remember all the stories and camps he went on and I wanted to do the same! He then went on to join the Royal Air Force (RAF) and this was amazing! I was the coolest kid as my brother picked me up when he was home in his uniform! So as soon as I was 13 I joined the Air Cadets and it was awesome. I began to mingle with people and get involved in different activities. The stories that I was told growing up now suddenly rang true in my life. I cannot express how important this time was in my life. Its just an unfortunate shame that someone with perverted hidden agendas had to spoil it for not only me but another.
The ATC like the RAF had a ranked structure; something that was well respected. Young people would get the opportunity to lead other cadets. This consisted of cadets aged 13 to 17 usually ranked from Corporal to Flight Sergeant. Beyond flight sergeant you’d have a Cadet Warrant Officer. Most of the time this was taken by someone who was still a cadet but was over 18 as they would have been extended. At our squadron, this was the case.
Uniform inspections would take place most nights and more often than not this was initially conducted by the most senior cadet before the Officer In Charge (OIC) would come and do the full inspection. Our Cadet Warrant Officer (CWO) was the most senior and he would check for fluff and make sure the ironed creases in the uniform were to a good standard. As you would imagine, there were rules against any cadet touching another. So when trying to remove fluff from someones uniform you would let them know and move it as quickly as possible if they, themselves couldn’t remove it. I recall on many occasions the CWO would just go in and make contact with the cadet, including myself with the sole intention to touch them.
Over time, picking fluff off me became brushing fluff off me. Maybe from my shoulder or possibly from my trousers. I can recall that this began to be more of a regular thing after I came out as gay to some people at cadets, including the CWO. Over time he would be more tactful and make slight touches on my ass and crotch area as there was ‘fluff’. I knew this was not the case.
So touching over clothes became the norm and over time I got ‘close’ with the CWO. Please note that I was 14 at this point and he was 18. We would have conversations in the class rooms and he would discuss very graphic things with me. This was the beginning of the grooming process. Alone. Away from others. Being fed lies about how he liked me. I was young. Confused. Naive and here, I had someone who ‘liked’ me and was saying and doing things to me I had never experienced before. Things that young people should not experience. I say he liked me … I was an easy target as I was a rather large young boy, not exactly attractive but in addition to that, I didn’t like the girls so never had a girlfriend and other lads were not gay or closeted…
Even as adults, especially those with low self worth, being told you look good and being promised a ‘relationship’ means that that we are drawn into the lies and deceit. This is what was happening with me. Now older, much wiser and a new increase of self worth I now know that this was wrong and the 25 year old Charles knows that. I am screaming at my younger self “You FOOL!”.
Bringing it back, so far not that great situation to be in really. Unfortunately it gets worse. When I reported this I was advised that the police will need to be contacted. Now with the complaint in motion I needed to give my evidence. All offences most serious are entitled to special measures. So due to the severity of assault I was subjected to I was able to give my evidence in chief via a Video Recorded Interview. During this interview I spoke about things that I have never verbalised to any person. Even during my last relationship, he didn’t know about this. Partly due to the fact he just wouldn’t care but also the pushiness of his inept personality, There would have been no support. Hearing it myself out loud and out of my head was strange. Upsetting and disgusting. Throughout the interview I couldn’t look at the police officer in his eyes due to embarrassment. What I will say is the officer who took the interview was incredible! Thanking him is all I could do, but that day he healed me a little I owe him.
Strangely I found myself almost defending why this happened to me. I was almost blaming myself for being touched and worse and after the interview I was advised that this self blame or acceptance was normal. I was verbalising that I was groom him? The fact of the matter was I was a juvenile and he was an adult. I was not a fault. It wasn’t my fault.
The ‘relationship’ got closer and by this point we were being dropped off together as he lived very close to where I lived. He would get out with me and say he would walk the short distance to his house. This wasn’t the case. Regardless of the season, he would take me down to an industrial estate where there were small alleys away from people and possible CCTV. Here is where he would begin to touch me under my clothes. I remember asking why we couldn’t go to his house where it was warmer. There would be some excuse why, but the realisation was he couldn’t molester a young person with his mother home. He would get his cold hands and touch my ass, my penis and my body. Like clockwork, my hand would soon be be guided by him to his penis where he was already aroused. After a period of time I was forced down from my head and made to give him a blow job. As a young person who knew very little about sexual techniques but I am sure that didn’t bother him two nights a week without fail. This happened on so many occasions, too many to count. Every time would be something for me to now forget.
This was ok right? He liked me and I liked him? WRONG! So I felt I was in a ‘relationship’ … However this was not a relationship, it was lies, deception and one man’s perverted fantasy. This was clearly a breach of child protection and it’s taken me 12 years to admit or at least realise this. Has it affected me? Yes. I’m not a professional so cannot determine if I follow the status quo or not. All I know now is that I will be making sure that young people in my life or the people I protect and serve are not subject to this.
Over the years there are many places to try and forget things. Home. Work. Out and about. Walking the hills. And Railway lines. However forgetting it not dealing with problems. Use that voice. Speak out and be strong. For me it got bad one time. Silenced by a fractious relationships and pathetic feuds. However with the intervention one evening from Samaritans I am here to write about it. We all have a voice and should never be silenced through fear or embarrassment.
I am now in the process of getting this to court so I will have to let you know what happens. If you have any questions then please ask, I’m all ears.