WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: Some readers may find the content distressing.

John was 12 years old and excited he could bike into town on his own for the first time. But while he was at the bank, a "friendly and well-spoken" man asked him for directions. By the end of the evening, John's innocence was "ripped away".

One in six boys will be sexually abused before they are 18. In this video series, 10 men have told their stories. All grew up believing they were the only ones it had happened to. Now they want other victims to know they are not alone and, if they are ready, help is there for them.

John spoke to CTV as part of its Challenge the Silence series, here is his story.


For 50 years, John kept his childhood sexual abuse a secret. But two years ago the burden of that secret consumed him.

John is speaking out about his experience because he does not want anyone else to suffer in silence.

"I got sexually abused a long time ago.

"Once as a very young child and I can't bring myself to talk about that," he said.

"And then once again when I was a young teenager at school."

It was a stranger who sexually assaulted John when he was a teenager.

"I went to town one night on my bike ... around eight o'clock.

"As I was about to leave the bank, I was approached by a well-dressed and well-spoken gentleman."


He was friendly and needed some directions, John said.

"We were brought up to help people, of course."

He figured out that I wasn't going to meet my father at work for another hour or so, John said.

The man said he was lost and said he would appreciate it if I showed him around the city, he said.

"'I'll give you a fiver,' the man said.

"That was a lot of money to me," John said.

"It was starting to get dark, I wasn't afraid. I wasn't aware there was anything wrong.

He led me up to a house and said he had left his wallet inside and that I should come in and get the money, John said.

"He closed the door.

"I was trapped.

"I honed in thinking 'I've got to escape from here'. I knew I had no show because he was a lot taller and stronger than me.

"I didn't know what he was going to do."

John pauses for a moment as he speaks about his experience.

"He sexually assaulted me.

"I can still picture his face that night. I can still hear him talking to me. I can still feel him touching me ... I can still feel the sensation of him forcing his way into my personal private space, as he ripped all my innocence away from me.

"I thought of making a run for it. Although he wasn't vicious, I was still terrified.

"I didn't know ... what he was going to do. There was no-one around."

Then he said 'you'd better go and meet your father', John said.

"I walked in there and I never said anything.

"I never told anybody," he said.

"It was the 29th of October 1965 when he did that."

50 years later: Encountering his abuser

On the 28th of October 2015 it was the day before 50 years turned over.

"It was [around] my wedding anniversary and a number of occasions before I had decided I would tell my wife," John said.

But always something went wrong or he backed out, he said.

"Couldn't do it. But that day I did."

She was the first person he told one day short of 50 years, he said.

"She's been wonderfully supportive."

Later, John wrote down what happened to hand into the police.

"I was all ready to take the letter in ... this was October.

"Less than six weeks after that ... I almost walked into my offender.

"I still can't believe it.

"I feel for his other victims.

"I question myself, what would have happened if I reported it straight away?

"Although I'm making good progress, I can still picture his face that night."

John is receiving counselling and support. He says police are handling his case with care and dignity.

The man who John says sexually violated him has been convicted twice of historical sex offending against girls dating back to the 1960s.


If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.


0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP) (available 24/7)
YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757 or TEXT 4202