Gerrard was five years old in the mid-1950s when ‘a young man in the same street I lived in’ molested him. Shortly after this incident, he suddenly presented with a mysterious physical condition that no one could explain.
‘My very loving parents tried all manner of things to see what was causing that. No success whatsoever … I spent four weeks in the children’s hospital when people tried to work [it] out.
‘So whilst I was in the hospital I was visited by I don’t know how many doctors and things, trying to work out what was going on and why … Numerous people were hoping they’d see what was going on. One of them, I remember the name very clearly. I remember his face … I remember him coming into the room with someone else. I don’t know any others present but certainly there were the two of them. Now, I can never understand why he did what he did. I was sitting on the side of the bed, he got me to sit on the edge of the bed. And effectively he simply, how can I put it, played with my genitals. And even at the age of six I thought “What does this have to do with anything?” And I didn’t know.
‘So after that this was just, you know, if not normal certainly not something that I hadn’t experienced before. I never told anybody about it. My parents never found out …
‘I know it upset me at the time. But I just thought “I can’t tell my parents this. What am I gonna tell my parents? I can’t tell them this”. (A) It would distress them enormously; and (B) What would happen? What would happen? Would I be in trouble? And I think that’s something that’s thought about a lot. Would I be in trouble if I said anything?’
After the incident, Gerrard worked hard to manage his condition and ultimately enjoyed a satisfying career which he recently retired from. He was largely able to put the doctor’s actions to the back of his mind until he saw a newspaper article. The doctor in question had recently died and was being celebrated for his service to children’s medicine.
‘Now, it’s not that I ever forgot about it. I certainly never forgot about it ... I ummed and aahed about contacting the Commission. Ummed and aahed for quite some months. I thought “Oh this is silly, this is a waste of time. There is no point in this”. And I said “No, I really ought to do this”.’
Gerrard has never accessed counselling in the past but may consider it in the future. ‘It still distresses me. And I don’t quite know what to do about that except to say to myself … “This is 50 plus years ago. Just forget about it”.
‘I’m not angry about what happened. I’m upset certainly but I’m not angry. And I’m not after revenge or any recriminations in any form. What’s happened has happened … I just think what happened to me wasn’t right.’