From the highest levels of government to the deep dark corners inside a state-run institution, child sex abuse has become an inescapable secret in the unfinished history books of the United Kingdom. For this may be the most evil antecedent, and perhaps an ongoing narrative, of the UK's character as a nation.
At The Daily Scholar, we explained in-depth some of the history behind child sex abuse and pedophile VIP parties in our article "UK Government: Crime, Abuse, Corruption", which was posted last spring.
During the past few months, an organization by the name of the People's Tribunal has started to pick up some traction and attention for the numerous untold stories of victims. The People's Tribunal is an organization made up of survivors and their supporters in order to examine cases of institutional child sex abuse in the United Kingdom, as well as expose and bring justice for the victims.
One of those stories caught our attention here at The Daily Scholar, not only because it is extremely disturbing and gut-wrenching, but also because this story speaks to a broader theme that we continue to come across the deeper we get into what we believe is concealed evidence. The theme we seem to continue to unravel is that child sex abuse in the United Kingdom has been extensive across the country for a number of years. It's true that child sex abuse can be found in all four corners of the globe. In the case with the UK, government officials, police, social service workers and other figures in a position of trust and authority have not only used their power to keep the information secret, but also partook in many of the horrendous acts of atrocious wrongdoing.
This is Cheryl's story.
Cheryl Corless had a difficult childhood. Her mother, who was no longer able to provide for her daughter, placed her in care on Christmas Day when she was 15 year of age. This took place in the late 1980's. Cheryl was placed in an institution that was called "The Grange", which was located in the northern part of England in the small town of Wilpshire, a northern suburb of Blackburn, Lancashire. It wasn't long before Cheryl experienced her first case of sexual abuse. On her 16th birthday, one of the staff told her he was going to make a woman out of her and proceeded to rape her.
This wasn't, however, the only time Cheryl experienced abuse, nor was she the only victim. During her entire time at the institutions, many of the girls who lived there were made to think they were worthless and were told they weren't real people. She claims there were numerous times when they were encouraged to get drunk and were taken to parties. Various professional businessmen would attend these parties and take advantage of the young girls.
After becoming the victim of a gang rape situation, Cheryl went to the police to tell them what had happened. The police refused to believe her story, said that she was making everything up and declined to do anything about it.
Two years later, after Cheryl lived in two different institutions (both located in Wilpshire), Cheryl ran away and ended up on the streets when she was only 17 years old. She professes that she had zero self-esteem after her time at the institution because of the emotional and psychological damage she incurred during her time there. Cheryl lived on the streets for an entire year with little to no food or shelter. She was forced to give birth to one of her children inside a telephone box after fleeing her abusive partner.
Several years later, after she had her seventh child and was apparently suffering from bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which she later diagnosed, Cheryl went to the police once again to report that she had been sexually abused during her youth while at the institutions in Wilpshire. The police told her once again she was making it up and accused her of being psychotic. The Lancashire Authority took her four youngest children from her and placed them in foster care. "It made me feel like we were left to be abused so that they could take our children and keep the 'system' going", said Cheryl after that experience.
Shortly after losing her children to the authorities, Cheryl finally received medical assistance and was stabilized after being put on medications for bipolar and PTSD, which she most likely developed from her time in the institution. However, Cheryl has not been allowed to see her four youngest children, ages 11, 10, eight and six, for over four years. From the information she's been able to gather, her 11 and 10 year old were separated into different foster care homes. Her eight and six year old were force-adopted by the same woman who was behind the removal of all four children. "I worry for all their safety every minute of every day. They are in the same care system that failed me and my elder kids so badly", said Cheryl.
When asked why she thinks some people refuse to believe her story, her response is, "I don't think that people want to believe that the care system isn't good. Society as a whole, we've been made to believe that the current system is there to protect children and do the best for children. It's hard for people to believe that people who were supposed to be taking care of children really weren't."
*Image credit goes to Birth Without Fear blog.