Mr Summers, a teacher at Alvin’s primary school, didn’t actually teach Alvin, but he did single him out for a particular kind of ‘game’.
‘He played this game with me where he’d chase me around the corridors of the school, corner me and tickle me all over … And I thought it was quite fun, sort of, so I didn’t report it to anybody. It was a bit of a game.’ Alvin was only 10 or 11 at the time. Summers would also take him into a corner behind the lockers, to touch his genitals and pull at his shirt.
There was a trio of teachers, Alvin recalls, who enjoyed doing this to him to varying degrees. Mr Gordon, one of his actual teachers, would touch him too, but mostly in the classroom. The third teacher was more of a distant figure for Alvin but was still involved in the abuse. On a school excursion, Summers and Gordon acted sexually with Alvin in front of another teacher who did nothing to stop them.
It was a close-knit school and these teachers were actually ‘fairly kind’. What makes Alvin angry is the fact that the headmaster did nothing to curb their behaviour. And he’s sure the headmaster was aware of it.
‘It was done in public corridors a lot of the time and there were often two or three teachers involved … and that’s the main thing that made me come along today. Because I’m just a bit angry that as the head of the junior school he was never across it.’
The abuse went on for about two years.
Alvin talked to his parents a few times about it, he can’t remember when, but they didn’t want to know. They did, however, transfer him to a different high school. Alvin did well academically and got into a high status university course. But he had trouble concentrating and dropped out in his third year.
In his 20s, Alvin began to suffer from anxiety and depression. He isn’t sure if that’s related to the abuse he suffered, but he certainly connects the abuse to the discomfort he feels around young boys. He gets very anxious that he’d do something inappropriate to them.
Alvin reported the abuse to the police six or seven years ago but decided not to press charges.
‘It makes me a little bit emotional thinking back to that time ... I don’t talk about it very often.’
Alvin knows there’s more awareness now of what’s right and what’s wrong but he believes that has its own dangers.
‘I am concerned that a lot of primary school teachers now feel terrified of going anywhere near the kids, especially males, and that saddens me … I don’t want male primary teachers to live in fear ... But then again you’ve got to have headmasters there who are keeping an eye on things. And that’s where I feel totally let down.’