Abuse victim’s torment that lasts a lifetime

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Courage comes in many forms. It’s difficult to imagine what it must have been like for a young teenage boy suffering in torment, bearing in silence abuse committed upon him by his school teacher in an ultimate betrayal of trust.

To not be able to discuss his plight with anyone, to feel ashamed and embarrassed; to carry the secret around with him rather than feel able to reveal the truth and cause terrible grief to his own family. Little wonder this boy would find the burden of his silence too much to bear; little wonder that as he grew older the demons that haunted him from that time would spill out in rage, alcohol and crime.

Today, speaking for the first time, that teenager - now 37-year-old Alexander Gray - bravely waives his anonymity and brings home to all the impact such abuse has on the victims. Life does not ‘move on’. It is never something to be merely ‘got over’. His entire life has been blighted and he compares the symptoms he still carries to those akin to post-traumatic stress disorder. “You end up blaming yourself because you’re a child,” he tells the YEP’s Sam Casey. “I didn’t tell my mum because that’s the worst thing a parent can hear.” Disgraced former Leeds Grammar School teacher Christopher Slater has been sentenced to four years or abusing boys between 1976 and 1992. Cool comfort for Mr Gray who serves a life sentence.

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