Breaking the uncomfortable silence which surrounds child abuse
Trigger Warning: Child Abuse
‘Finding happiness in facing up to new challenges’
My name is Jeremy Indika and I am the founder of ‘Something to Say’, my life’s mission is to break the uncomfortable silence that surrounds child abuse.
I was a normal child; I did well in school, I played lots of sports and had a great set of friends.
When I was eight I was sexually abused by a twenty five year old man, who was a trusted member of the family.
I cannot be completely sure how the abuse started, but it progressed to a stage where we were committing sexual acts naked. Nobody suspected or saw anything.
The abuse lasted two years, the abuser moved away and then the abuse stopped.
Afterwards, I continued as the boy that I was. Doing well in school, playing lots of sports, I still had the same set of friends. I was a pleasant, high achieving young boy, showing no signs of having endured child abuse.
The reason for this was that I had no way of determining that what we were doing was wrong.
None of the abuse that this man was inflicting on me was painful. It was all actually very comforting; the kissing, cuddling and fondling felt warm and tingly.
This might be uncomfortable to hear, but it is true. Scientifically, a stimulated penis is going to give a response. Because of this, for me, there were no immediate nightmares or stress post abuse.
Life went on and I cleverly filed what had happened to me away, in a box, in the back of my mind.
I worked hard at school and got myself an apprenticeship in aerospace engineering, the company was great to work for and they helped me move up the ranks. Four years later I was on the design team.
My social life was also great, I was getting paid loads from this job which meant I could party, go on lots of holidays and chase the girls. All normal things that young people do.
Then everything changed, I turned twenty five and began experiencing bouts of sadness, which were unusual for my personality.
I sat on this feeling of sadness for some time and then I realised it was linked to the abuse I had suffered as a child.
I decided that my strategy for dealing with this was to push these thoughts away. I believed that with time the thoughts would just disappear, and as a twenty five year old man it was horrific to have to confront the reality that I was having sexual contact with a man when I was a boy.
Two years later however, I realised that I was in an even worse position; instead of disappearing, the memories had grown in strength.
I had no defence tactic, I was on my knees.
I knew I needed to do something different, and I came to the conclusion that telling someone might be a good idea.
I sat my friend down and was able to tell him.
He gave me the most genuine and incredible response of anger, sadness and disappointment.
The next morning I spoke to my friend and told him that it was the most incredible feeling to get my story off my chest. Telling someone gave me a huge injection of confidence, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders.
All of a sudden my life was back on track.
One of my colleagues had gone over to Formula One and spoke to me about making the move over with him. I thought it would be amazing to work at Formula One, so I started making moves to achieve this goal, working late into the night trying to upskill my CV.
I then made a move to the automotive industry with Jaguar working on their Land Rovers, which was one step closer to the vehicle side of things. Then I got a job at McLaren which was another step closer to my dream at Formula One.
All the while I was telling my story to more and more of my friends, as more people became aware, talking about it came from a place of strength and not of fear.
I then started becoming interested in what other peoples experiences.
I went online and I found chat rooms. There were thousands of people talking about the pain in their stories. I literally couldn’t believe it, there were so many people just like me.
So now, in the evening instead of staying up at night working towards the Formula One Dream, I was up researching the causes and effects of pedophilia.
Then, I got an email from Red Bull, they had offered me an interview. The strangest thing was, I didn’t care. The dream I once had started to become insignificant.
I went for the interview anyway, having done no preparation, and gave the worst interview of my career. Needless to say I did not get the job, but I didn’t care.
At that time I had read about a woman who was abused back in the 1940s, she said she came from an era where victims weren’t allowed to speak up about their experiences. I realised I was so fortunate to live in an era where I could speak about mine freely.
I wanted to try and do something about this.
Taking my story public seemed like a good place to start.
I wanted to commit myself to this mission so I told my parents and the police. I then quit my job, sold all of my possessions and started sofa surfing on friends’ couches.
I began by doing open mic nights in London as a storyteller.
I started to record my performances and post them on social media. I gained a considerable following and in four months I spoke at over sixty venues.
I spoke out more and more, anywhere I could, sometimes to audiences that didn’t want to hear it, but I had a fire in my belly, so it didn’t bother me.
There was one problem however; after nine months of investigation, the police told me the case was weak and that they would not be continuing with the investigation.
This was because there was no concrete evidence and it was my word against his.
I couldn’t understand how the abuser dared to deny it. I wanted to speak to him and let him know how I was feeling, and that what he did would never be forgotten.
I tried to message him but he blocked me.
I realised that I would have to find out where he lived and knock on his door.
I did some digging, and found the address.
When I arrived he recognised me instantly, he tried to slam the door shut but I put my foot in the way.
I spoke to him very calmly, calling him out on everything we did together and how it made me feel.
Then, he called the police. The abuser and I were interviewed at the scene, he decided to press charges against me for stalking, harassment and assault.
I was arrested, taken to the station and put into a cell overnight.
I remember looking at the cell wall and thinking; how has it come to this?.
Yet, if you gave me my time again I wouldn’t change anything, I got enough time at the door to say everything I needed to say to him.
And perhaps if he is still perpetrating, or even thinking of perpetrating again, I might have scared him enough to stop.
There was nothing more I could do about my abuser.
So, acknowledging the confidence boost I got from sharing my story, I thought I could create a platform to allow others to do the same. I decided to put all my effort into this new project; ‘Something to Say’.
Through Something to Say we’ve shared over one hundred stories, and we bring in experts to educate victims about what happens in their brain after they’ve been abused.
We are going to be the first generation to succeed in our mission when we say; ‘enough is enough’.
This blog was written by Millie Davies based on the interview with Tales to Inspire