A father is supposed to protect and love his child, right? But what if the person you love most betrays you? How would you feel?
Our Little Secret is an autobiography of Duncan Fairhurst who was raped and sexually abused by his father.
In this poignant memoir, Fairhurst bares his soul to the world of his tormented chilhood…the years of sexual abuse which started when he was just four years old.
Fairhurst’s father began sexually abusing him for as long as he could remember. He did not know what was wrong other than he didn’t like it. But deep inside he was full of rage and fear.
His father told him that it was an act of love and covered the abuse by showering Fairhurst with gifts and money – a gesture he mistook as an act of love from a father to a child.
He recalled the “bathroom episodes”, where the sexual abuse began and how the “episodes” gradually moved to little Fairhurst’s bedroom and even in a moving vehicle. The abuses ceased after Fairhurst reached puberty; but the damage – too extensive and severe – was already done. The years of abuse and neglect brought him to the path of drugs before he finally decided to change his life around.
Fairhurst suffered from psychological illness and fell into a deep depression and self-denials. The retaliation in Fairhurst drove him to substance abuse. Drugs provide him the temporary relief from pain he failed to obtain from the people whom he loved the most.
Over the years, he became wilder and out of control. He moved out from his parent’s house and the drug addiction got worse. He also had a narrow brush with the law when he was caught in possession of a substantial amount of drugs whilst celebrating his 21st birthday. But he refused to seek counseling to overcome his hatred for his father. Amidst his myriad of drug’s abuses, Fairhurst fell in love with a middle-class girl. Love propelled him out of the evil cycle of drug dependency.
Once he overcame the drug addiction, Fairhurst turned to education – went to university – to better his life. He became a teacher after graduating and has been teaching since.
Years later, in a chance encounter in 2004, he came upon his father in the street, cluthing the hand of a little boy. Fairhurst pulled enough courage and with support from friends, deciced to lodge a police report against his father.
Fairhurst writes this memoir with crude honesty. The sexual abuse is depicted in a language that will make you cringe in digust. Even in his hallucinations – as a result of substance abuse – seemed real. People might perceive his drug’s dependency as a sign of weakness. For me, he is just trying to to survive the ordeal independently.
The message from Fairhurst is simple; love and deducation will help chase the demon from your past. It is through these essential elements that Fairhurst finds peace with his bleak childhood and rid himself of his nightmares.
I wouldn’t comment much on Fairhurst’s writing style as this book is a memoir. It is unfair to compare him with other established writers as his is an autobiography as opposed to a fiction. However, to be completely honest, I find his writing – mediocre.
Nevertheless, Fairhurst’s courage to pen his story in a form of a book is exemplary. I am deeply moved and humbled by his sheer determination to share his experience. A lesson taught by the book is: no crime goes unpunished and love will eventually conquer all. It is very cliche – I know – but if you are looking for a dosage of humility, courage and motivation, this is the book to read.
Title: Our Little Secret
Author: Duncan Fairhurst
Price: RM60.00 (Times, KLCC)
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (293 Pages)