Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

'Pain and turmoil' of victim's family

Parents of Child F
Child F's parents say every nightmare he has raises questions about what he has to deal with

One of the key players in Scotland's biggest paedophile network has been jailed for a minimum of 13 years.

James Rennie sexually assaulted a boy, named in court as Child F, from the age of three months onwards.

Here, Child F's mother tells BBC Scotland of the impact the case has had on the family's life.

In the first few hours after the police turned up at our door, I considered it yet another challenge I had to face in my life.

I regard myself to be a true pragmatist and often feel my best approach is to just get on with things.

But the pain and turmoil of the past 18 months has gone far beyond what I can rationalise.

The chronic anxiety, particularly in the first six months, of waiting for the next phone call from the police - and what it might reveal - was excruciating.

It has taken considerable support from family, friends and professionals to try and keep our family together

Suddenly every waking hour is filled with thoughts of what has happened to my child.

Trying to fill in the blanks, but not think the worst.

Trying to focus at work, while images of your child being abused and the contents of depraved chat logs fill your mind.

Coming to terms with what I will never know has brought about some of my lowest moments.

I do not deal well with the unknown and I continue to struggle with the gaps that my child's life is now filled with.

Was he frightened? Did he question why he had been left in this position by his parents?

Every nightmare he now has leaves questions - and the tough early years where his behaviour was difficult to manage suddenly seem to have a different light shed on them.

Erasing memories

As parents it became our responsibility to tell our son that he would never see Jamie again. Professional support allowed us to find the language to explain this.

I expect that for him to discover Jamie was no longer going to play a part in his life was very confusing.

As parents, it has been a clear-cut decision that allows us to remove any memory of the man that abused our child from our home.

The memories of the part he has played in our lives will be harder to erase.

It has taken considerable support from family, friends and professionals to try and keep our family together and in many respects life will never be the same.

However, I have learnt over the past six years, through managing an unusually complicated pregnancy and those tough early years with my son, that reflection and trying in some way to remain positive can see one through.

He has been sexually abused and shared ... his image becoming part of a global industry that has been allowed to flourish unchecked

Attempting to find the good that may come from the difficult experiences life presents, which now includes the sexual abuse of my precious son, seems awful - but the only way forward.

I am truly saddened that it took what has happened to my son for me to become aware of the sickening sexual abuse and exploitation of children on the world wide web.

He has been sexually abused and shared - offered for access over the internet, his image becoming part of a global industry that has been allowed to flourish unchecked.

The abuse began when he was just three months old and lasted more than four years.

I can now only hope that an attempt at a global strategy between internet providers and government to prevent the distribution of such images and behaviour is high on agendas.

It may be that children in poverty and at risk of other types of exploitation are, in a sense, easier topics to highlight and discuss.

The sexual abuse of children is one which people would either prefer to shout and scream about or give no thought to as it remains too heinous to discuss.

Talk, however, we must.

Facing the future

As a parent I feel strongly that not only must we rely on policing, prosecution and prison, but prevention of those who may go on to abuse must surely be an integral part of any strategy.

However, for those involved in paedophile behaviour to identify it in themselves and know where to seek help, society must be prepared to discuss this issue.

We need to allow an openness within society of where to seek help, just as alcoholics go to AA and gamblers go to GA.

Clearly the protection of children must take precedence, but if individuals could have been stopped or deterred, we as a family may not have found ourselves in this situation.

Will it always work? I expect not. Considering the case of Strachan it would appear neither does prison nor monitoring.

Will it always be popular? Absolutely not - but unfortunately I am now in a position of being able to comment openly on such matters.

As a parent thinking of my son growing older, and the risks that I must allow him to take in order for him to learn and experience life, I have taken some solace from poet and writer Kahlil Gibran and his thoughts on children.

He says: "Your children are not your children...and though they are with you they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts...they have their own thoughts.

"You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow...

"You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backwards, nor tarries with yesterday."

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