Ian Pace has now assembled 28 separate accounts of sexual abuse at Chetham’s, the Manchester music school. Two of the perpetrators went to jail. One took his own life. Others live on, untroubled by their consciences.
Here are a couple more victim stories from Ian’s post:
AL14: I was at Chet’s 1987-91. Looking back, I feel sad for the vulnerable girl I was, that loved ( and still do) music. I held my teacher in such high esteem..if he said jump, I jumped. At 15 I was given an opportunity to study piano with B. and I remember feeling so excited. That was soon to change. A naive, country girl – I couldn’t understand why I felt so uncomfortable during my lessons. Surely, he couldn’t be touching my private parts whilst I was trying to play..it must be my imagination I thought. However, I soon stopped the lessons through feeling scared. My house parent questioned me why I stopped lessons with B. and after he asked the question, ‘has he done something’ I reluctantly told him about the way he touched me. I remember my house parent shaking his head and saying, ‘not again’.
AL17: I was the first girl to report sexual abuse in 1971 and would have appreciated that being recognised. I felt that my existence hadn’t mattered and this has really affected me very badly this last week.
It was only after my mother telling me the day after my father died, that I had been the biggest disappointment in their lives, was I then able to tell her about the abuse and the reason for me returning [home]. My father died, never knowing.
AL19: He didn’t like me and used to play mind games with me. He withheld coveted positions in the orchestra deliberately and taunted me about it. My very worst time was when I was in Upper Sixth and he summoned me for a private chat in his office at night. When I went in he was wearing those tiny shorts he often wore that left nothing to the imagination. He sat behind his desk and regarded me with amusement; I was clearly nervous as I didn’t know what he wanted. He wrote something on a piece of paper and then put it in the top drawer of his desk, locked it and laid the key on the desk. Then he stood up, put one foot on a chair, so his genitals were exposed, and said to me “I know what you’re going to be”. I had no idea what was going on or what he meant. He gestured to the drawer “that piece of paper says what will happen after you leave school. Do you want to know what it says?” I didn’t know what to do, and stood there frozen. He regarded me with contempt, put his leg down, and shooed me away, saying “you can go”. I escaped. I didn’t tell anyone; what was the point and who should I tell?
When I left I went to one of the most prestigious universities in the UK to read music. Despite this, I was seen as a failure by the music department … I want the staff of the time, those that are alive, to know about our stories, and for them to acknowledge how wrong their decisions were and to apologise without reservation.