Rape Victims: Jon Needham’s life was grim from an early age, growing up in a ‘poverty struck’ council estate in northern England—and it was to get much, much worse before it got better. His father was sent to prison, and his mother went crazy. She had a “major breakdown” and had to be put in a facility with guards.
He was placed in foster care at the age of seven for what would become the most solitary and terrible time of his life—one that has lasted decades.
For about a year, he was placed in a room with an adult who raped him on a regular basis.
“I would fixate on a light in the distance, like an orange light, or something coming through the curtain,” the 46-year-old told. “It wasn’t always at night; it was also during the daylight.”
People think I’m a brilliant poker player because I can get into this zone in my head where I don’t feel anything.
“I’ve really used it on purpose at the scene of a few terrorist attacks in recent years, or unexpected death or something like that.” I suppose I will just go to that place where it psychologically and emotionally shields me. “
His abuser was a former soldier who would rush into the room wearing a gas mask and holding a knife, making Jon wet the bed.
He was, unsurprisingly, a “nervous wreck” as a child. His events caused him to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“For 20 odd years, I had nightmares of a person with a gas mask and knives going up to my throat,” he recalled.
When his father was released from prison, he eventually got out of foster care, and he spent his twenties drifting from job to job, feeling lost.
After repeated attempts and failures, he finally made it into the police force in 2009.
He felt obligated to expose his abuser now that he was working in law enforcement, and he felt like a “walking pressure cooker” because he had kept his abuser secret for decades.
“When I arrived at court, the judge asked me, ‘Why didn’t you speak sooner?’ because it had taken me 26 years or whatever to talk about it,” Jon explained.
I told the judge, “If someone held a blowtorch to my face, the shame and stigma would be so overwhelming and so severe that I would never, ever reveal it.”
“That’s why it takes so long for many others who have had comparable events to me to speak up about their harrowing experiences.”
However, despite exposing all of his pain in court, the jury was twice hung, and the offender went free.
Jon says he was at his lowest point ever after the incident. He barely left the house, plagued by panic attacks and depression.
He praises counselling for helping him turn his life around, despite his reservations.
“It turns out to be the most incredible relief,” he stated. She was really intelligent and absorbed everything.
“She didn’t judge anything I said, and I felt like I was believed, and I almost had my say.”
“It’s similar to having surgery; it’s terrible for the first few sessions, but after a few weeks, I started feeling a lot better.”
Jon now works in a lifetime offender management section, where he deals with serious and organized offenders; he is also striving to educate his colleagues to understand abuse survivors’ experiences, with the goal of establishing a “victim survivor ambassador” in every force in the UK.
“Rather than a symbolic box-ticking exercise, they would give victims and survivors a true voice within the service,” Jon explained.
“What they’d do is get involved in training—maybe specialty units or rookie cops—to help them increase their empathy and understanding and put themselves in the victim’s shoes.”
Jon, on the other hand, has finally arrived at a pivotal point in his life.
“Things have never been so nice,” he said. I’m not depressed in any way. There are no regrets on my part. I don’t feel any remorse or shame anymore.
In fact, I’m quite pleased with myself. I was walking down the street the other day, smiling to myself as I reflected on how far I’d come. It’s practically a miracle. “
Source: ladbible.com Image Credit: Jon Needham
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