Blogs Reports

Healing the Past

Reported by Aaron

Published on Wednesday, October 11th, 2023

Isolation Mental Health Recovery Support and Relationships Trauma
Blogs Reports

Healing the Past

Written by Aaron

Published on Wednesday, October 11th, 2023


Mental Health


Support and Relationships



This article includes descriptions of child abuse and rape. 

In this incredible article Aaron talks publicly for the first time about something that has weighed him down throughout his life. Sharing it has helped to lighten that load.


Home is meant to be a safe zone. A place to eat, sleep and live in safety without fear. 

It wasn’t like that for me. From the age of 6 I was beaten systematically each day with a leather belt for insane reasons, such as being 5 minutes late home from school or giving a little bit of lip. 

Each evening I was awoken in the early hours, tortured and raped, forced to participate in despicable acts that NO child should ever be subjected to. Over the years I was also repeatedly told to keep it a secret or I would get into trouble and sent away to a ‘naughty boys’ home’, so much so that it terrified me on a daily basis. 

The days that should have been filled with laughter and falling out of trees with my mates, instead were years of sadness, fear and loneliness. 

Shortly after I reached the age of 13, I ran away from that house of horrors. 

I slept rough for a few days before eventually making my way to a family member’s house who took me in. I never spoke about what happened, nor why I ran away, partly from shame about what I had been made to do, but mostly through fear of being taken away from my family. 

My silence had some extremely negative effects upon me. All the pain and trauma I’d buried deep inside left me with a simmering rage well into my adult years. It became normal for me to hide my feelings and never show my emotions – or what I perceived as weaknesses. Over time, any negative feelings that I experienced I just ‘bottled’ up and ignored the underlying issues. And believe me, as a spotty teen going through puberty, there were many! 

Eventually, like a volcano erupting, I would just explode, and a gushing torrent of molten vitriol would pour from my lips. I was never ever violent, but the decibel levels would certainly raise the concerns of anyone passing by my home. As quickly as it began though, I would take myself away from the situation and smoulder in isolation until I was once again calm. Then the cycle would renew all over again. This was also, sadly, one of the reasons that led to the breakdown of my relationship, leading to my eventual homelessness in early 2014. 

I sofa surfed and stayed in a few hostels until 2021, when I finally was able to get a new place of my own. 

It’s now 30 years since I ran away from home as a teenager. I am in a much better place mentally. 

Although it wasn’t directly for this issue, I have received counselling which taught me to learn and adapt with some new coping techniques. I am very happy to say that I’ve not had an outburst of anger in about 5 or 6 years, and I am able to address any arising issues with a clear mind and definitely a clear mouth. There is a popular quote that I am very fond of using – ‘a smile a day, keeps the pain away.’ I believe in this wholeheartedly and I have taken it one step further: ‘each and every day it’s my goal to make at least one person belly chuckle with laughter.’ It’s amazing just how infectious this can be. 

Additionally, I have a wonderful team of reporters, project officers and managers that I work with as part of the Listen Up project, and whilst they may not have the same past experiences that I had, most of them have experienced some sort of distress leading to a housing crisis. More importantly than that, they are all compassionate, Each and every one of my colleagues have welcomed me with open arms, enveloping me with warmth and care. I’ve gained the strength to write for the very first time about my childhood and begin a new healing process. 

There are certainly scars left behind, they run deeper than the surface and will never be completely fixed, however, like any wound, they will fade over time and become invisible. And yet, even now, writing this, I feel a huge weight is being lifted as I drop the chains dragging me to the past and I exorcise the demon that’s been tearing at my soul for decades. 

Much love to you all. 

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can find information and support on the National Association for People Abused in Childhood’s (NAPAC) website. NAPAC’s trained staff speak with survivors of any type of childhood abuse over the phone, exploring the options available to them such as support groups and counselling to help empower callers to move forward. Calls are confidential, free from UK landlines and mobiles and can me made anonymous. 

Aaron welcomes comments on this report

Written by Aaron

Hey everyone, pleased to meet you all. I'm currently reporting from the Bolton area. I have a degree in Psychology and Sociology and for many years worked in the care sector specialising in paranoid schizophrenia and bi-polar disorders. During this time I also achieved my NVQ lvl 4 in Health and Social Care. Additionally I specialised in caring for children and adults with severe autism and severe learning disabilities. I am fluent in makaton and PECS, both systems designed to promote the development of speech for those who are not able to communicate successfully. I hope to use my time alongside my Groundswell colleagues to enact changes in our current broken and underfunded system of support.

Read all of Aaron's articles


Isolation Mental Health Recovery Support and Relationships Trauma

5 thoughts on “Healing the Past

  1. Omg well done.
    I’m so bloody proud of you right now.
    I know how hard this is for you, you did it yes.
    I cannot put on here what I’d say ( you know my personality) ha.
    Keep on doing what you do,
    25 years… so proud

  2. Wow, Aaron, this is such a powerful report. I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing it with the world.

  3. Aaron this report is so powerful, I love your honesty and admire your courage for sharing it with us.
    You are definitely a Survivor, well done mate x

  4. Absolute amazing writing! Honestly couldn’t imagine what you went through but to see how strong you are now is incredible

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