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I am a father. I am also a survivor

Father’s Day can raise complex feelings for men who have been abused. The experiences survivors have had with their own fathers varies widely. For some survivors, the idea of becoming a father themselves may seem like a daunting or even unlikely prospect. Should I tell my children what happened to me? How?
Yet it is also true that many male and non-binary survivors make wonderful, protective parents – including many of our clients here at SurvivorsUK. To recognise that this Father’s Day, our clients Randolph and Robin are sharing some of the joys and challenges that fatherhood has brought to them.


“As a child growing up, I didn’t know if I would really want to be a father because of the fear that I would pass on the same neglect I received from my alcoholic dad, or if the darkness of my past abuse would affect my children.

One day that all changed, because I was determined to change the narrative and never let any child of mine suffer the emotional pain I felt as a child. So I pledged that if the almighty blessed me with children then I will give to them the love that I longed for as a child and never had, by being there for them and supporting them in every phase of their life.

As a survivor, I have always been somewhat of a ‘helicopter dad’, trying to conceal the pain of my past and protect my young ones from ever falling into the same net I did as a child.

It is very hard wearing the mask and trying to suppress your past and present pain and its emotional effects, but still fulfil your paternal responsibility to love, nurture and empower the beautiful children you are blessed with to one day take their place in our society as responsible adults.

Coming from a Caribbean background which had its challenges, there is no manual for parenting, but I have developed an open-door policy with my children, telling them that “No matter how bad you think it is bring it to me and tell me the truth. I will only be pleased or disappointed.” This is our family motto and I am grateful for the loving and supportive relationship I have as a husband and father.

I am the King Daddy in my home and my beautiful children are the precious Gems in my crown.”

– Randolph


I have two fathers; an abusive biological father and a supportive step-father, whom I call ‘Dad’ because he deserves it.

Father’s Day brings mixed emotions for me as I think of both of these men. I choose to think more of the man who has been my ‘Dad’ for the past forty-plus years and has helped me live a relatively stable life, although memories of my biological father and his twisted views are also ever-present.

I have always believed in honesty and openness, so I have informed my children (once they were old enough) and their mothers of the abuse I suffered as a child, albeit not in any detail.

This caused some issues with my first wife, but not with any of the children who have all been very supportive. I think it helps them understand me. It certainly helps one of my sons who is now a father himself understand why I don’t want to change nappies or help with bathing the children.

Being a father is everything to me. I feel it is the only good thing I have done or has happened to me. My children have, and always continue to, reward me with endless joy.

– Robin

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