A WHITEHAVEN man who suffered sexual abuse as a child is urging others not to suffer in silence.

Ade Kevern, 48, wants to reach out to other victims of sexual violence who are trapped in isolation and despair.

“It’s been quite a hard journey to get where I am today,” he said.

Ade was just seven years old when his abuser, Michael Stanborough, first took advantage of him. Stanborough was jailed for four years in 2016 after admitting the historic sex offences.

Ade said: “It affected every stage of my life from the moment it happened. I went from being a happy, creative, loving child to being withdrawn. My parents thought it was my age.

“I was very quiet and withdrawn which made me a target for bullies. I came out of school with practically nothing.”

Ade joined Whitehaven Rugby Union, which he says has been a “massive influence” on his life.

“I was looking for some sort of structure and I felt accepted. They were a steadying influence.”

Ade got a job in the fire service through a friend at the club, which he said brought him back from the brink.

“While I was doing early stuff in the fire service, I didn’t have time to think about it. But depression and PTSD just gets worse if you don’t get help. It’s a bit like a pan filling up with water - it will spill over and then settle down.”

In 2015 Ade confided in his manager at work and was referred to a psychotherapist. After just one session, he found the courage to go to the police and report what had happened.

“I thought, I can’t carry on this way. The decision to take counselling - that was the best thing I ever did. It allowed me to make sense of how I feel.”

Ade is now a registered volunteer for Safety Net - a charity which supports victims of rape, sexual abuse and domestic violence.

“Speaking to someone else who has been through the same thing is invaluable to them,” he said.

“One in six males have been affected by sexual abuse. There’s still a lot of stigma around it. For males you couldn’t get a more devastating thing to tell somebody than you were violated as a child.”

But Ade is urging anyone affected by sexual abuse to speak up.

He said: “You are not alone.There is hope. It takes time but eventually you’ll realise life does get better. Take the step and go and get help. You don’t have to suffer in silence.”