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Gravesend director creates and performs one-man show about his own childhood sexual abuse

PUBLISHED: 13:43 16 June 2017 | UPDATED: 13:45 16 June 2017

Patrick Sandford as a boy

Patrick Sandford as a boy

Archant

Patrick Sandford suffered the abuse at a primary school in Gravesend

Production shots of Groomed with Patrick Sandford Production shots of Groomed with Patrick Sandford

A 65-year-old man who suffered childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a teacher from his Gravesend primary school has now written a play presenting his trauma to the public for the first time.

Patrick Sandford, a director, has turned to acting to tell his story of the abuse he suffered in the 1960s.

He said: “It was a long time ago, but the effects last, and talking about it now shows how much I’ve recovered. I didn’t know how to tell anyone about it at the time, but this performance is a way for me to move on from the experience. The response has been extraodrinary, and people have opened up to me about the childhood trauma they’ve suffered.

“It has had a huge impact on my life. Trust issues have made it difficult for me to build relationships. I have had some very loving relationship but it isn’t easy for the other person.”

Mr Sandford has now performed his play for both the Metropolitan Police, and the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, whilst also speaking with his former school and Kent County Council about it.

“The county council have been very civil and curtious, they have dealt with my case as appropriate and there is no ill will between us. The same can be said for the school. The school now has nothing to do with what happened and I genuinely hope it’s a great school now.

“I would like my abuser’s name to be out there, because people need to know what happened. It would be great if this play encouraged others to come forward. I’d love to congratulate them on continuing with their lives.

“I’m not sure where my abuser is now, but I’m pretty sure he’s dead. If he walked in the room now I’d punch him on the nose and just ask him what he thought he was doing. I don’t believe all paedophiles are monsters, they have deep psychological issues. And I’d like to quash theories that if you’ve been abused, you’re more likely to become an abuser - that’s simply not true. The attraction isn’t the crime, the action taken is.”

Groomed is showing at the Soho Theatre until July 1.

Visit sohotheatre.co.uk for tickets.

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