Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!

3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Newcastle United, England Footballer - One Survivor's Story

Kieron Dyer reveals heart-breaking secret after 28 years:
'The abuse was like a nightmare where I couldn't scream

Kieron Dyer's eyes are still red from crying when we drive down Chaucer Road and turn into Thackeray Road. This is where it happened, the act that twisted and blighted his life for 20 years, the act that has been his secret until today, the trauma that was the tortured backdrop to his playing career for Newcastle United and England.

Dyer notices an old ice-cream van abandoned in a driveway, a reminder of summer long gone, an echo of laughter long fallen silent.

In Ipswich, some people call this warren of avenues and cul-de-sacs on a hill above the town the Poets' Estate because of its street names. For Dyer, its only poetry is constructed from stanzas heavy with demons and dread.

The former England midfielder has revealed that he was abused by his great uncle

We pull up outside a semi-detached red-brick house and Dyer gets out. He nods towards the number on the wall and the window next to it, which is shrouded by net curtains. 'There's a room behind there,' he says, leaving the rest unsaid. The curtains twitch. His nan has lived there most of her life. She still lives there. Dyer goes to the door to say hello. He stands on the step but he does not go in.

He was 11 or 12 when his life changed. His mum worked the late shift on Friday nights at Tooks Bakery on the Old Norwich Road, so Dyer stayed with his nan. It was a happy, busy house and his cousins often slept over as well. His nan had separated from his granddad but her brother, Dyer's great uncle, Kenny, lived there, too.

Dyer, 39, was a trusting, open kid back then. Not the suspicious man he became. Not the man who never looked you in the eye. Not the man who bore the angry, scornful demeanour that made football fans think he did not care about the game or about them. Not the man who had such a pathological fear of being taken advantage of that he fell out with friends for months over nothing.

Dyer and his little sister

That trust was stolen away from him on one of those Friday nights. His nan had gone out. His uncle, Dooey, was upstairs with girlfriend, Rachel. Downstairs, it was just Dyer and Kenny. They were sitting on the sofa watching television. He cannot remember what was on.

'I had this thing about denim jeans when I was a kid,' he says. 'I loved the feel of them and often I'd fall asleep on my mum's lap when she was wearing them. This particular Friday night, Kenny was wearing jeans and I fell asleep on his lap while I was watching television.

'Then I woke up. I woke up but I was scared to open my eyes. Kenny had slipped his hand down my trousers while I was asleep and he was fondling me. I froze. I was petrified. I didn't know what to do. Kenny must have sensed that I'd woken up because he started shushing me and trying to reassure me.'

'He kept asking me to let him finish what he was doing. It was like he was in a trance. He said he'd buy me loads of chocolate. He pulled my trousers all the way down to my ankles. I knew he was doing something terribly wrong but I was frozen. I couldn't move. I couldn't speak. I couldn't do anything.'

'Then he bent his head down into my lap and started trying to perform oral sex on me. I was still terrified. You know when you have one of those nightmares when you can't scream? It was like that. Eventually, I managed to push him away. I pulled my trousers back up. "Don't tell anyone," he said. "This is our secret."'

Dyer went into the hallway and rang his mother's number. He still remembers it — 214576. His mother picked up and he heard her voice. Then he saw a shadow coming out of the lounge. Kenny stood over him and stared at him. Then he raised his finger to his lips. Dyer hung up. 'He never did it again,' Dyer says, 'but it wasn't for the want of trying.'

And so it was their secret. It was their secret for 20 years. Dyer did not tell anyone. He was ashamed. He was scared. And there was another thing: he had once seen his father wielding a machete and chasing a man through a park over a trifling argument in a game of football. He knew if his dad found out, he would kill Kenny and spend the rest of his life in jail. So Dyer went to prison instead.

Victims often fail to act out of a great sense of protection for their family.

He kept all the anger and the embarrassment bottled up. And the rage grew in him. When Dyer was 21, Kenny died. Dyer had signed for Newcastle by then and had made his England debut for Kevin Keegan. He went to the funeral and looked at the mourners weeping for a monster. Someone offered him a tissue. 'I didn't say anything,' he says, 'but I thought: "Why are you crying for that ****?"'

And still he carried the secret.

Dyer became one of the highest-earning players in the country, he was one of the Golden Generation of footballers of whom so much was expected, he played at the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004. And he became a byword for players who had much too much, much too young.

He fought with his Newcastle team-mate, Lee Bowyer, on the pitch at St James' Park, he crashed his Ferrari on a bridge that crosses the Tyne, he was in Ayia Napa with Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand when girls were filmed having sex. He became a symbol of the Baby Bentley Brigade.

He won 33 caps for England but sometimes he heard people say he had underachieved, that he had wasted his talent on a dissolute lifestyle and poured it away into a stream of scandals.

He thought about how what had happened might have destroyed him; might have killed him.

Dyer infamously fought with Newcastle team-mate Lee Bowyer (right) during his career

He told himself he was lucky to have played a single game of professional football.

It was bad enough that it infected his relationships and his friendships. He was closed and distrustful. 'I find it hard to have eye contact with people,' he says. 'I feel embarrassed. There is a trust issue. I don't want people to see my eyes. I don't want them to see my vulnerability.'

He vowed that no one would ever take advantage of him again and the vow dominated his life. When he had children, he saw signs of sensitivity in his eldest son, Kie. He was hard on the boy because he reminded him of the way he had once been. He knew that vulnerability could cost a kid.

Once, he flew at a coach at Newcastle, at half-time of a game at St James' Park because he felt he was picking on young players such as Lomana LuaLua and Shola Ameobi, who were easy targets. Never the strong ones such as Alan Shearer. He told the coach he thought he was a coward. 'I didn't like vulnerable people being picked on, especially when the strong ones were left alone,' he says.

I know some have felt so much despair that they have taken their own lives. I'm not sure why I didn't. Maybe football was my way to forget the pain and the abuse 
Kieron Dyer 

And so it went on, this cycle of recrimination and suspicion until, in 2011, he found himself at Queens Park Rangers with Joey Barton. One day, Barton mentioned to his team-mates that Peter Kay, the co-founder of the Sporting Chance clinic that helps sportspeople deal with alcohol, drugs and gambling problems, would be at the training ground that afternoon if anyone wanted to talk to him.

Dyer went, intending to say little, but his pain flooded out. And that day at Harlington his life changed again. He began to understand why he had been behaving the way he had, why he had been pushing people away, why football supporters accused him of not caring and why he needed to do something about it. He accepted, at last, that he had been damaged.

'If I hadn't opened up to Peter Kay I would have been alone later in my life,' Dyer says. 'I would have pushed everyone away. All my loved ones would have been out of my life. I didn't want to show any vulnerability so I pushed people away. I probably would have lost my children. I would have been on my own living out the years as a sad old man.

'I was unaware of the person I had become. I thought my stubbornness, not letting people in, going through mood swings, were all just natural aspects of my character. I thought that was who I was. I didn't realise it was the abuse that formed the person I became. I didn't recognise what I was doing. I owe a great deal to Joey Barton and Peter Kay.

'I know that others have suffered terribly because similar things — and worse — have happened to them. I know that some have felt so much despair and hopelessness that they have taken their own lives. I'm not sure why that didn't happen to me. I think maybe it was that every time I played football, that was the way to forget the pain and the abuse.'

Dyer was never dragged into the sick network of sexual abuse in football, the extent of which was exposed at the end of 2016 by the bravery of a host of former players.

Dyer was never abused by a coach. He never came into the orbit of any of the predatory figures who stalked football in the Seventies and Eighties. He was a victim of the most common form of sexual abuse: abuse in the home. And when he saw the rest come forward, when he saw the support they received and the courage they gave others, he became convinced that he could help other victims by telling his story, too.

His autobiography, 'Old Too Soon, Smart Too Late,' which is being serialised in the Daily Mail starting on Monday, is published at the end of the month. Dyer has organised a launch party at Portman Road, the home of his first club, Ipswich, in aid of a local child abuse charity called Fresh Start, New Beginnings.

'They told me that girls come forward a lot more than boys,' Dyer says. 'There is still a taboo about it and more boys keep it a secret, like I did. I'm hoping that by me telling my story, maybe lads who are too young to relate to great players like Paul Stewart and David White might read about what happened to me and understand how important it is to get help.'

A great weight has been lifted from Dyer's shoulders since he told Kay his secret. Soon after that, he found a different kind of courage and asked a woman he met in a bar in Ipswich for her number. He and Hollie were married in 2014 and, with her two daughters and his four children, he feels he has found real happiness at last. He is profoundly grateful he met her when he did.

'At least I found some resolution,' says Dyer. 'That's because I had the help of Peter Kay. If I hadn't had that help, I would have pushed everyone out of my life. Maybe I was lucky.' He says he is at peace now but it is also clear that the healing process is long and difficult.

He still breaks down every time he talks about what happened. We talked about it before we drove up to the Poets' Estate on Wednesday. That is why his eyes were red from crying when we turned into Thackeray Road.

He is no longer crying for himself but for his broken family. He is crying for the secrets and lies that divided them for so long. He is crying for what they lost and for what he fears may never be repaired. And he is crying for his nan and his mum and his dad and his cousins and his uncle and for the guilt they feel about what happened to him.

It was only last year that he told his family what had happened. His sister, Kirsha, rushed upstairs to be sick when she realised what he was saying. It was only a few weeks ago that he finally plucked up the courage to tell his dad. It was only a couple of days ago, after worrying that they might be teased at school when this interview appeared, that he told his son, Kaden, and his step-daughter, Marlee. 

For more information about the charity Fresh Start, New Beginnings, go to www.fsnb.org.uk. The NSPCC's hotline is 0800 023 2642 and Child Line for children and young people can be contacted on 0800 1111.

NAPAC, the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, can be contacted on 0808 801 0331. In the UK, The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. 

'The hardest thing,' Dyer says, his eyes welling with tears, 'is that I am the victim but I am not the only victim because it's my whole family. It's probably harder for them, which is really tough. Because they trusted him. They let all their children stay with this man. A lot of them idolised this man. 

'What's really hard for them is that I was so scared at night that I would sleep at the bottom of my mum's bed until I was 16 and they used to take the mickey out of me, the whole family, and call me a sissy. When they know what happened, that's tough. I had my mood swings and they'd say, "Don't talk to him today, he's moody". I feel sorry for them, which is weird.

'I'm at peace but it's easy for me because I didn't have a choice. There was nothing I could do. I was a vulnerable kid who was taken advantage of. They will never have peace because there is always the "what if". What if they didn't put Kieron in that situation? What if they had seen the signs? They will always blame themselves but I don't blame any of them.

'I don't want to use what happened to me as an excuse for the mistakes I made. In my life and football career, I made monumental errors. But I had a choice. I knew what was right and wrong and you can pick what's right and what's wrong. But with the abuse, it's probably the only thing where I didn't have a choice. There was nothing I could do about that one moment in time and it formed my life.' 

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