My original concerns about writing my autobiography THEY CAN’T TOUCH HIM NOW was revealing secrets, secrets that had been locked away in my mind for so many years. I am convinced that even a truth serum would not have made me give them up.
Then, when I had written my 117,000 words, I faced one more major hurdle. I was asked to write something for the back of the book to serve as an appetizer for what was inside. This was a hard challenge. Then I wrote this:-
Have you ever had a dark secret that you couldn’t share? A secret that must be kept to protect yourself and those around you?
Jimmy was nine years old when he is molested in a flea pit cinema in London’s East End and then sexually assaulted by the same man on his way home. This leaves Jimmy feeling guilty, different and excited.
An extremely nervous boy, Jimmy is struggling to cope with his illiterate father’s violent outbursts and with being adopted. Then his life changes dramatically when Tom, his replacement scoutmaster, throws him a barbed lifeline. Tom’s “conditional” kindness leaves jimmy with an even darker secret, one that develops into a minefield of confusion. This true story reveals what dangers lurk in shadows where troubled children try to hide.
Tom is dead so the secret can at last be shared.
How could such few words ever encapsulate my life? What could ever be enough to explain my story, short of reading the book? Yet I had to settle with the above.
On reflection, when I allow myself to think back about my own past, I have realized that child abuse comes in many forms. For me the worst was that from my father. His verbal and at times violent abuse was so hard to understand. After all, he was in agreement with my adoption yet at times he made me feel I was little more than an inconvenience. Or, even worse, “a bad choice”! Then, to make matters worse, I had the pleasure of witnessing several fights between my father and my mother which were terrifying. I can tell you that a bang in the head or a bloody nose soon heal words spoken with such venom such as ‘your mother never loved you.” stay with you forever.
Of course Tom was wrong to physically abuse me but at least he gave me a place to be where I felt safe. It was his ‘conditional kindness’ that was wrong. But it was what I needed so telling anyone what was going on was impossible. Writing my story left me feeling guilty of betrayal, even though Tom is now dead. Such is the mental mess children find sometimes themselves living with.
Not all fathers are like mine and not all paedophiles are like Tom. However, I believe that all paedophiles feed on mis-placed trust and moments of weakness by those in charge. When the lioness leaves her cub for a moment there is a hyena there to snatch it. We no longer live in an age when little children can play in the streets unsupervised. As we know, there have been so many cases where the guard has been dropped for a second; where for the blink of an eye a parent has looked away. Where the repercussions have been unthinkable.
I wanted They Can’t Touch Him Now to show parents and young children alike how mis-placed trust can result in a lifetime of unhappiness. I want my book to show one child they are not the ones in the wrong. If my book can do that for one person, all of the effort of writing it and the painful process of getting it into print, will have been worth it.
I believe that knowledge is priceless and ignorance is just food for a predator.
They Can’t Touch Him Now by James Williamson (published by Clink Street Publishing 8th April 2015, RRP £8.99 paperback, RRP £3.99 ebook) is available online at retailers including amazon.co.uk and can be ordered from all good bookstores.