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Locked Away


I remember being sexually assaulted, with a knife against my throat, getting away from them, having a meltdown and then being physically restrained by staff. This was the PTSD episode I mentioned recently, the one I had when awake.

Eventually I did tell a few staff members, thinking they would rescue me from it, but they didn’t. In fact my parents were just told I was experimenting with boys. I’ll always question if I was misread or if it was something more sinister going on. The reason for this uncertainty is that there were staff from Raddery who were prosecuted for sexually abusing students. So I’ll always question if it was misread or self-preservation from staff that were guilty of the same thing.

Any abuse will leave deep physiological scars. For four years, I felt trapped knowing he could attack me at any time. I honestly don’t know how I managed to survive that. As an adult, now I can barely cope with the memories coming back as PTSD episodes. I hated being there but knew I couldn’t run away. I didn’t know where to go. The school was located in the countryside, and even if I did get away, my words were constantly dismissed far too easily.

I remember attempting to end my life when I was ten and again at thirteen, but I couldn’t go through with it. There may have been other attempts, but these are the two I remember. I thought I had lost my will to keep fighting, in a moment where I wished so hard to have my voice. To be able to free myself from his grip, to yell out for help until my voice strained with the volume.

I know now that I never stopped fighting, I just couldn’t see it. The abuse had such a deep impact that for years after I thought I was gay, but always felt really uncomfortable when with a man. I was told I came on to him, that he was reading me and just doing what I wanted deep down. A lot of people made me feel worthless, like I had no value. He seemed to get a kick out of it.

All our best and love

Ross Fraser and Jeni Dern

Words – Ross A Fraser

Graphic Design App – Canva

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Jun 20, 2023

I know that losing my ability to choose my responses came after my life was put at risk during a camping trip. I also know that it wasn’t the first time I felt my life was put in danger, far from it. I just can’t be sure if it’s related to the abuse, but I have questioned it many times. My time at boarding school was hellish existence, that robbed me of an education and a large portion of my life. Nightmares are easy to dismiss because you know it’s not real, nightmarish memories from your own life, you don’t get to dismiss them. Because if you do send them away, they will eventually return.

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