Morris’ first childhood memory is learning to walk and he remembers the abuse starting not long afterwards. He can remember his dad saying to him “I’m only doing this to you to show you it’s wrong. Don’t let other people do this to you.” From being a toddler Morris’ father sexually abused him and once it started, it didn’t stop. He describes his homelife as horrendous and the abuse as relentless. His father would physically and sexually abuse Morris at least two or three times a week, which lasted until he eventually left home at 16.
Speaking about his childhood Morris says: “I was always powerless against my father. I can remember him hitting me when I was only five years old. He was a bully and he knew that I didn’t stand a chance against his strength and power. From a very young age I accepted I just had to take his abuse and not fight back. I knew I’d never win.
“We lived in poverty. Smashed windows were never replaced and the house was a state but my dad always seemed to have money to go to the pub or buy cigarettes. I used to hear him come home and I knew there was nowhere for me to hide. Wherever I was in the house, he would find me and the abuse would start. I can remember one time when he walked into my room and blocked the doorway so I couldn’t escape. There was no way past him but all I wanted to do was get out. If I ever did anything wrong or answered him back he would beat me. He never gave me the chance to explain myself and wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say. My mother was frightened of him too. He frequently hit her and she was helpless to stop him.
“I knew what was happening wasn’t right but when I was growing up people didn’t talk about child abuse, especially not sexual abuse. It was brushed under the carpet like an embarrassing secret. I know my mum and a close family friend knew what was happening to me but no one spoke up for me at the time. If the NSPCC Helpline had existed when I was growing up, my mum or the family friend could’ve told someone what was happening to me. My childhood might have been so different if someone had spoken out about the horrible things my father was doing to me.
“My father was an uneducated man and he never encouraged me to make anything of myself. He told me I’d never achieve anything. But I knew I wanted to get out of that house. I was so unhappy and I felt worthless but I knew there had to be a better way to live. I tried to stay positive and focused on finding a way to leave home. At 16 I became an apprentice electrician, which gave me the independence and security I needed to escape him. From the moment I left home I never spoke to him again and I’ve made a success of my life. But there are lots of children suffering abuse right now who won’t be able to see a way out. They’ll feel trapped like I did.
“If anyone has the slightest suspicion that a child is suffering they shouldn’t hesitate in calling the NSPCC Helpline. I strongly believe that we can all try to do something to stop children being harmed and we can’t ignore signs of abuse, suffering or neglect. It’s taken me decades to come to terms with what I went through and to be able to talk about it. If my story inspires just one adult to pick up the phone and speak to the NSPCC Helpline about a child they think might be suffering, then it will be worthwhile.”