Without Consent by Sid Spencer #BookReview #BlogTour

A childhood in the care system, a boarding school in the remote countryside, a boy forgotten and abused.
This is the true story of how I, as a small boy, went from my neglectful, volatile parents, to controlling, uncaring foster carers and to a boarding school rife with sexual abuse, perpetrated by the adults there.
Experience the court trial, the fear of having to face my abuser, my fight to be believed and the final outcome.
This is a story of hope, of strength and of justice. This is a story that, sadly, too many children experience.
This is a story that should never have to be told by anyone again.
25% of ALL Sales will be donated to Survivors UK. https://www.survivorsuk.org/

It's my honour to be hosting the blog tour for Without Consent by Sid Spencer today. Many thanks to the author and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my ecopy of the book.
The last few years have seen several historic child abuse cases finally come to light. As the author points out, these cases are never historic for those who suffered at the hands of adult abusers - the fear and pain may be locked deep inside but it is still there. Sid was let down right from the very start of his life, he and his sister were neglected by his parents whose violent relationship was marred still further by alcohol abuse and adultery. He was eventually taken into care where - as is only too common with children from troubled backgrounds - he was moved from foster family to foster family as people were unable or unwilling to offer him the loving care he so desperately needed. At the age of eleven he was sent to a boarding school but his initial excitement was short-lived as he was groomed at the hands of a man who was almost certainly a serial sex abuser and endured years of the most horrific sexual abuse.
Without Consent is frequently a hard book to read. Sid's abuser perpetrated the most vile of acts on a vulnerable young boy, including violently and systematically raping him over the course of several years. It's necessarily a no-holds barred account which forces readers to truly understand both the evil of the paedophile who preyed on young boys but also allows us to bear witness to the fortitude of the man that boy became.
As Sid describes the court cases where he had to relive the horrific memories of his attacks, I was appalled and angered by not only the acts themselves but also a system which has let down children time and time again. Children who are placed in homes where they should be supported and loved but who are instead subjected to the very worst any human should ever suffer, let alone a child. And then if they manage to bring their abusers to court they face a further ordeal as their testimonies are cruelly questioned with the implication they are fantasists or liars. It is not surprising then that the long term mental health of abuse survivors is often so poor, and Sid writes movingly of his own battles that continue to this day.
As distressing as his account is, it's also a celebration of his strength and survival. Now happily married to his husband, Kevin, and the loving father of two children, it's both heart-warming and humbling to read of his bravery in facing his abuser and his ongoing support of other men who have survived childhood abuse and rape. He has started a social/support group called ROAR (Reaching Out After Rape) which gives men a place to meet and share their stories. Sid's own healing process is far from over, the abuse he suffered casts a long shadow and it's still only a few years since the court case. I truly hope that writing this book has been cathartic for him. This isn't a polished memoir, it could possibly have benefited from a little restructuring, particularly the last chapter which I personally felt would have been better placed elsewhere. Nevertheless it is a hard-hitting, raw and honest book which has clearly been written from the heart. Male abuse and rape still bears a terrible stigma and is often cruelly dismissed or used as a punchline, and victim blaming is sickeningly rife. Sid's courage in writing this harrowing book will undoubtedly give hope to other abuse survivors and will let them know they are not alone. Without Consent is a difficult but important account and deserves to be widely read.

Without Consent can be purchased here. Don't miss the other stops on this blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

Sid Spencer has been a father since 2010 when, with his husband, they fostered and adopted their two children.
Sid soon realised that in order to help his two children to heal, he needed to help the boy that we was to heal as well.

Sid leaves in West Sussex where he writes, paints and is the dad at home.
Website for ROAR Brighton