My father lost his job when I was 11. An older couple who had known my parents since before I was born invited us to stay with them.

They were like grandparents.

One day we all went for a swim. My parents stayed on the beach but my brothers and his wife swam. He came over to me and said he could hold me up while I floated. I trusted him.

he proceeded to stroke me in an intimate place and digitally abuse me.

I squirmed and got away and swam toward my older brothers. But he glided after me and floated me again and abused me again.

He got me to sit beside him at dinner and would stroke my leg under the table.

I was bewildered. If I told where would we live and mum and dad were already burdened.

I repressed it but remembered enough to avoid being in a room alone with him.

When we moved out I developed problems sleeping and yearned to share a room with my brother as we had at “granddads” place.

I regularly slept less than 4 hours a night.

I developed debilitating panic attacks which could see me bed ridden for days from vomitting. I became agoraphobic.

when I was 19 I told my mother. She cried. She felt guilty and she blamed herself for not protecting me. She said that tge women who knew him, including her kind of joked about when he hugged them he would grope them but she never believed it extended to children.

I dont blame my mother.

I tried to kill myself a little after this.

I started using dope when I was 21 to self medicate and enable me to socialise.

My life got nowhere near normal until I was in my 30s.

My abuser stole 2 decades of my life.

Sometimes I wish he had been a priest and I had been a boy then I would have had some financial compensation. It wouldnt change the suffering but would have helped the loss of income from the breakdown I suffered and subsequent intermittent inability to work.