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Old 03-12-2013, 03:34 AM   #1
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Default "My name is Rachel... and I am a survivor."

Daily Mail - 2 December 2013
For 25 years, Rachel was haunted by the teacher who sexually abused her at 13. Then she decided to make him pay for his crimes by taking him to court

The man standing in the dock of the crown court cut a pathetic figure.

Middle-aged with thinning hair and a paunch, he wore shabby clothes and cheap shoes. I didn’t recognise him at all.

‘That’s him,’ said my mother. But I couldn’t quite believe that the man sitting a few feet away was Graham Wilcock, the once-trusted teacher who had abused me for three years from the age of 13.

Glancing towards me, he bit his nails. It was then I felt a sick stab of recognition. Mr Wilcock used to bite his nails right down to the quick.

In my many nightmares, he’d always been a handsome, charismatic young man with blond hair.

Now I could see him for what he really was: an inadequate man and a paedophile.

Thankfully, it was time for him to face justice.

The abuse I experienced at his hands began only weeks after my father’s sudden death at the age of 48.

I’d returned home from school one afternoon in April 1984 to find a police car outside.

My dad, Peter, had collapsed and died from an epileptic fit, leaving me and my mother, Jean, who was a teacher, on our own.

I’d just turned 13 and was a bookish, rather naive teenager who, like most girls of that era, loved Duran Duran and Adam And The Ants.

Despite my grief, I woke up the very next morning, put on my uniform and headed to school, desperate for life to continue as if nothing had happened.

What I didn’t realise was that my school - the very place which should have provided a safe haven - was the place I was most at risk.

Mr Wilcock had become my teacher when I was nine. He was charismatic, funny and good-looking.

Like most of the girls at my school in Fleetwood, Lancashire, I harboured a small crush on him.

I had absolutely no idea of his intentions towards me when he offered me a shoulder to cry on in the aftermath of Dad’s death.

I respected and trusted him - as did my mother and the other teachers at the school.

If anything, they believed it would be helpful to have a male influence to guide me through the grieving process.

In the days before and after Dad’s funeral, I would often sit in Mr Wilcock’s small office pouring my heart out about how much I missed Dad.

I can see now just how easily I transferred all the love I’d had for my father onto this new male role model in my life.

Wilcock listened, gave me warm hugs, told me I was smarter than the other girls. He laughed at my lame jokes and made me feel special. Little did I realise that, far from being fatherly, his behaviour was part of a sordid grooming process.

A couple of weeks after my father’s death, as I was about to leave for the Easter holidays, he stopped me on my way out of his office and asked for a kiss.

I assumed he meant a goodbye peck on the cheek, so when he leaned forward and planted a kiss firmly on my mouth, I felt pure horror - but also a little excitement.

‘You really don’t know how to kiss, do you?’ he smiled. ‘We’re going to have to teach you.’

I blushed, feeling utterly humiliated, but also thrilled that I was somehow special in his eyes.

Of course, I knew kissing him was wrong, but I didn’t breathe a word to anyone. As a naive child, I believed that he loved me - and, what’s more, I loved him.

Back at school after Easter, it wasn’t long before Wilcock started inviting me to his house to play chess - a game I had played with my father.

It was a calculated move, playing on my yearning to feel close to my dad again.

It worked. I would go to his house every few days after school while his young wife was out shopping. That’s when the abuse began.

Although the notion of a male teacher inviting a pupil to his house sounds incredibly suspicious in today’s society, during the Eighties no one gave much thought to predatory paedophiles.

Yes, there had always been ‘dirty old men’ in raincoats - but child abusers just didn’t hold respectable jobs and seem happily married.

Like so many other parents, Mum trusted Mr Wilcock. He was intelligent, charming, funny, earnest and, seemingly, utterly believable. He was also married to a lovely young woman.

Everyone believed he had my best interests at heart. But the only thing Wilcock was interested in was manipulating and controlling me.

He sexually abused me in ways I cannot bear to remember - at his home and in shelters on the seafront near where we lived, as well as on waste ground near his home.

Even at the time I knew it was seedy, but I was both desperate to see him and terrified that we’d be caught. I found myself lying to friends and, worst of all, my lovely mother about where I was going.

It never occurred to me to tell anyone what was going on. It wasn’t that I thought people wouldn’t believe me, but Wilcock warned me we’d both get into ‘enormous trouble’ if we were discovered.

Undoubtedly the sexual abuse was vile and damaging, but, with hindsight, the emotional abuse had huge repercussions.

While privately he would tell me that he loved me, in public he’d bully me - calling me fat and ugly in front of other pupils.

It was classic, calculating abuse. I craved his approval and would often spend my pocket money on his favourite chocolate bar and newspaper, hoping that these little love tokens would make him happy.

I dieted drastically, in the hope he would stop making fun of me. Sadly, I became anorexic and have battled with body issues all my life.

The only upside to the whole revolting business was the fact that I sought his approval by studying hard.

While the abuse continued, I gained 12 O-levels - all grade As in the subjects he taught me. It was this that aided my eventual escape.

By the time I left to do A-levels at sixth-form college, my schoolgirl crush had long since disappeared and I’d begun to comprehend the sordid nature of our encounters.

I decided I didn’t want anything more to do with him, and now our paths no longer crossed I was able to start a ‘normal’ relationship with a boy of my own age.

After A-levels, I went to Oxford to study English, then moved to London where I went on to become a correspondent for GMTV.

It took me more than ten years to consider that what happened was actually ‘abuse’ and not just some slightly abnormal relationship, for which I’d been just as responsible.

It was around 1998, during a visit home, that I began to hear rumours from a number of people about Wilcock and other girls at school.

It was my wake-up call. I realised I was not ‘special’: this was not ‘one-off’ behaviour. He was a paedophile and could do to other girls what he’d done to me. He had to be stopped.

I confessed all to my mum - the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. I can still see the look of shock and horror on her face.

I informed the school, and after Wilcock and I were both called, separately, to give evidence to the head and a panel of governors, he was sacked.

The school informed the Department for Education, but as it was my word against his, they wouldn’t take the matter any further. If I wanted to go to the police, I would be on my own.

To my regret, I didn’t. I just did not feel I had the strength to go through it again with the police.

Even then, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that somehow I was to blame. I even felt guilty that he’d lost his job.

In the years that followed, I tried to ‘get over it’ but, of course, I didn’t. I still hated myself and my body.

On the surface, I was a glamorous, blonde TV reporter - but underneath I was an emotional wreck, suffering nightmares and suicidal thoughts.

In 2008, after searching the internet for local counselling services, I came across Revival - which helps survivors of sexual abuse in Wiltshire - and finally turned a corner.

Once a week, I saw a counsellor who helped me to believe that I wasn’t to blame and confirmed that this ‘relationship’ was actually abuse by an adult in a position of responsibility, who should have known better.

I cried tears of self-hatred during our sessions, but I also began seeing the past from a different perspective and slowly found peace.

By then I had also met my future husband, Tom, an RAF officer, and for the first time realised what a truly happy relationship could involve.

It was in 2009 that I finally decided Wilcock should face justice. The catalyst was an extremely disturbing story I’d heard through an old school friend, which led me to suspect he’d used his position of trust to abuse other young girls.

I contacted Lancashire police and their investigation culminated in a case at Preston crown court.

That’s where I found myself facing the man who’d changed the course of my life. Because he had pleaded guilty to six counts of indecently assaulting me, I was spared giving evidence to a jury - but it was still a horrendous ordeal.

I’d given video evidence and been asked some very specific and graphic questions about what had been done to me and this was read out in court. Hearing these facts spoken aloud brought home the severity of what he’d done.

At one particularly graphic point, my aunt, who was sitting behind me, burst into tears. My mum simply squeezed my hand throughout.

Wilcock was sentenced to four years in prison - the maximum allowed under the law at the time the abuse took place - and put on the sex offenders register for life.

A Sexual Offences Prevention Order was made to restrict any contact with children under 16.

When I heard the sentence I didn’t cry. Instead, I felt as if I had been released. As I turned to look at this evil man standing in the dock, I thought: ‘This is how it feels to be powerless and to know that someone else has control over you.’

I had done something brave and powerful. Instead of feeling ashamed, for the first time in my life I felt extremely proud of myself.

Sentencing him, Judge Christopher Cornwall said: ‘This is a deeply distressing case.’

Later, my mum read in the local newspaper that Wilcock’s sentence was reduced on appeal to three years and four months. None of the appeal judges ever bothered to ask me what I thought.

I don’t know where Wilcock is now, and I don’t want to. What I do know is that he tried to make me a victim. Childhood abuse, like mental illness, is still a guilty secret.

Those who have been abused feel too ashamed to speak out and are afraid of the consequences.

Paedophiles cast a long shadow. Many victims eventually commit suicide to escape the deep feelings of guilt and self-hatred that have been instilled in them by their abuser.

But I refuse to be a victim.

Tom and I married in 2011 and last year we had a gorgeous little boy called Tanoa - a Fijian name, from his father’s side of the family.

Becoming a mother makes me realise even more how Wilcock abused the trust of everyone around him. If anyone did to my little boy what Wilcock did to me, I would want to kill them.

But now I am looking only forward. My name is Rachel Abigail Rounds and I am a survivor.

Revival-Wiltshire Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre is available only to people living in Wiltshire. They can be contacted on 01225 358 568. For national inquiries, visit www.thesurvivorstrust.org/national-helplines.
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:45 AM   #2
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Fleetwood Weekly News - 21 June 2010
Teacher caged for sex attacks

A TEACHER who molested a teenage girl more than 25 years ago has been put behind bars.

Graham Wilcock subjected his victim to numerous sexual assaults while he was a 25-year-old teaching assistant at Emmanuel Christian School in Fleetwood.

He would later become deputy head teacher in charge of the senior school.

The attacks spanned two years in the 1980s from when the girl was 13 to 15 years old.

His victim kept the assaults secret until the 1990s when there was an inquiry into his actions and he was sacked from the school but not barred from teaching.

Last year the woman – now in her 30s – contacted police after seeing a picture of her attacker and deciding she wanted the offences brought into the open. The 50-year-old was doing charity work in Romania when he was informed detectives wanted to speak to him regarding the abuse but returned to the UK to admit his guilt.

Sentencing Wilcock at Preston Crown Court, Judge Christopher Cornwall told Wilcock: "As you worked at a church school there was an extremely unpleasant element of hypocrisy to your whole life at this time. "This is a deeply distressing case."

Hilary Banks, prosecuting, told the court how Wilcock's crimes had escalated to sexual touching but had begun with the more innocent act of putting a fatherly arm around her shoulders.

In a victim impact statement, she said she felt like she had a duty to bring it to the attention of the police as other women may be at risk.

Kevin Donnelly, defending, said Wilcock showed genuine remorse, the crimes were some time ago and there had been no re-offending.

Wilcock, who was staying in Normoss after returning from Romania, was jailed for four years
, placed on the sex offenders register for life and a Sexual Offences Prevention Order was made to restrict any contact with children under 16.

Emmanuel Christian was housed in the Emmanuel Church buildings on Lofthouse Way from 1979 but moved to Singleton in the 1980s before its present location on the former-Fylde Farm site at Normoss.

The school was the first in the UK to use Accelerated Christian Education (ACE), a method aimed at re-introducing Christian standards into the classroom.

The Gazette - 4 February 2011
Sentence cut for sex abuse teacher

A FORMER Fylde coast school teacher who was jailed more than two decades after abusing a teenage pupil today had his sentence cut by appeal judges in London.

Graham Wilcock
subjected his victim to numerous sexual assaults while he was a 25-year-old teaching assistant at Emmanuel Christian School in Fleetwood.

The 51-year-old would later become deputy headteacher in charge of the senior school.

The attacks spanned two years in the 1980s from when the girl was 13 to 15 years old.

Wilcock was called back from his home in Romania to face the justice system after his now adult victim finally decided she wanted police involved.

Wilcock, who was staying in Poulton Road, Blackpool, after his return to the UK, was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment at Preston Crown Court last June after pleading guilty to six counts of indecent assault.

But today, three Court of Appeal judges said his “unusually strong mitigation” meant the sentence should be reduced to three years and four months.

Mr Justice Wyn Williams told the court how Wilcock’s dealings with the then 13-year-old Fleetwood schoolgirl had begun with a fatherly arm around her shoulders.

But he had taken it further, kissing and molesting her, while often humiliating her and putting her down by making fun of her appearance, over two years.

He left the school in the 1990s when the victim became aware he was still working there and reported what had happened to her years earlier.

The school took advice from the Department of Education and Employment and sacked Wilcock, but did not inform the police as the victim had not asked for their involvement.

Wilcock then moved to Romania, where he worked for charitable organisations until 2009, when the victim decided it was then time to go to the police.

He was traced by a detective, agreeing to return to the UK, where he immediately admitted everything he was accused of.

Mr Justice Wyn Williams, sitting with Lord Justice Jackson and Judge Brian Barker, said: “The appellant admitted what he had done when challenged by his employers.

“He returned voluntarily from Romania to face the charges that, by then, he must have known were coming, and he admitted the substance of what was alleged against him at the first available opportunity.

“All of that clearly points to the fact his remorse in this is utterly genuine.

“It is also clear the period of offending with the complainant was otherwise completely out of his normal character.

“There is no suggestion he has behaved in any way that is similar towards any other young girl.”

Last edited by troyhand; 03-12-2013 at 03:46 AM.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:28 AM   #3
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Default Good For You

Congratulations Rachel. You are a survivor and you are an inspiration for other survivors. I truly hope you maintain the happiness you have in your life now.

Much Peace - Amanda
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:05 PM   #4
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Congratulations to another Rachel . . . Survivor

BBC News - 3 December 2013
Rachel Isaac's 'horrendous' abuse by Michael Batten

An actress who starred with Ricky Gervais in The Office has spoken of her experiences of childhood sex abuse in a bid to help others.

Michael Batten, 70, of Maesteg near Bridgend, was jailed for 30 months for sex attacks on Rachel Isaac as he babysat her when she was eight.

He was convicted of indecent assault and gross indecency.

Ms Isaac, who has given up her anonymity, spoke of the burden of carrying a "horrendous experience".

All victims of sexual abuse have a legal right to have their identity kept secret.

Ms Isaac went to police after writing to her abuser and receiving no remorse in a reply.

'Amazing' support

The actress said she wanted other people to know what a painful experience it had been to go through and that there was support out there for other victims.

"I thought it was easier to keep it a secret than to tell people," she told BBC Wales.

"But in the end, the burden of carrying such a horrendous experience around made me ill.

"I had to tell people, but what's brilliant is that I was believed from beginning to end.

"I thought people would find it too unbelievable for it to be true but that hasn't been the case at all. Everyone's support has been amazing."

She added: "The big thing is I've sorted out the very practical issue - I basically wanted to tell my mum. In order to do that, it's taken a year of police and court and trial which is all very, very stressful."

During the trial at Cardiff Crown Court, she told how she was frightened into silence for years by the family friend.

'Vulnerable, trusting child'

"He robbed me of my childhood and ruined my life," she told police.

In her letter delivered by courier to Batten's door, she wrote: "I was a vulnerable, trusting child.

"You broke my spirit and wrecked my confidence.

"I can never get those years back and I have lived my life in a constant state of fear thinking I was worthless."

The court heard the abuse went on for at least two years.

The jury was told she came face to face with her abuser several times over the years.

Ms Isaac took a year to compose the letter to Batten, hoping for an apology. She sent it to him by courier to make sure he signed for it.

The court heard what she received was a short reply which "expressed no remorse".

The court heard Batten apologised for "any harm you think I have done to you" and wished her well for the future.

He then destroyed it because he said he did not "want to upset his wife".

Police investigated and arrested Batten after reading a copy of the letter and his reply.

"I suppose the story will never be over for me," Ms Isaac told BBC Wales.

"It's created issues that will never go away that I will have to work with and think about.

"But of course this is a much better, healthier situation for me. The truth is out there, everybody knows. He's in jail, justice has been done.

"I'm just trying to learn how to be happy with myself and not in a place of fear when I don't need to be. So I'm going to keep working on those things and hopefully start to enjoy things more like a normal person."

After training as an actress Ms Isaac starred in two films before appearing in ITV drama I Saw You.

Her next major role came when she played Trudy in the second series of award-winning BBC TV sitcom The Office before going on to tour America including a stint on Broadway in the Greek tragedy Medea.

Batten was jailed for 30 months last week after the court heard he was in severe ill health.

He was put on the sex offenders' register for life.
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Old 05-12-2013, 03:14 PM   #5
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All power to you, Rachel.

Thank you, OP, for the post.
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