I can remember well when my life changed, I was 8 and we had just moved house.

My uncle came to live with us. I looked up to him, he was a bit of a hero to me.

I was too young to know what was going on at first but very soon realised what my uncle was forcing me to do wasn’t normal. I didn’t feel normal anymore.

It continued until I got into my early teens, eventually I became old enough and strong enough to make it all stop.

But it had changed who I was, the shame and anger grew stronger day by day.

Anger was my friend, it protected me. My temper got worse and by the age of 14, I was thrown out of school. I began to drink and take drugs, this way I could forget it all and block it all out.

I was always having fights at home. I left home at 16. I stayed in hostels but mostly I slept on the streets. This continued until I got very sick and I was allowed back home but had to sleep in an abandoned car in the garden as I
wasn’t allowed in the house.

Eventually I got a place to live and life became more stable. I had some relationships with girls but I found it difficult to trust anyone.

Fast forward 20 years, I am now married with 2 lovely children. I know I haven’t always been the father I should have been to my kids. I was afraid to let them out of my sight because I was afraid they would be harmed.

I have come through very hard times, times that can never be replaced or forgotten but I have survived. Having my own children helped me realise what had happened was not my fault. I wanted to make sure my uncle was no longer a risk to children now.

I called One in Four and was put in contact with their Advocacy team. They helped me through a long process from making a statement to Gardaí, meeting social workers and going to court. They have been with me every step of the way. I couldn’t have done it without them. It wasn’t easy, it took years, but that feeling of not being alone, of someone understanding and believing me was invaluable. I am still in contact with them.

Today might be the day you feel able to reach out to One in Four.
[email protected] Tel 01 6624070