That insidious One in Four organisation always asks those unsuspecting ‘clients’ the rhetorical question: ‘You developed your addiction to drink/drugs because you were abused?’ And that invariably receives a big YES tick on the list. And that weakness then gets incorporated into the carefully scripted Victim Impact Statement.

Since the putrid One in Four is one of the main fuellers of the sexual abuse industry that organisation never seeks any alternative reason of the addiction.

One such reason for addiction to alcohol is the early childhood experience/ trauma of living in a household with an alcoholic where the addiction can be acquired by the easy access to alcohol and the influence of the alcoholic. 

It is well documented that Stephen Kershaw had issues with alcohol. 

One friend recalled that:

 ‘One thing that always stood out with Stephen was his change when he took alcohol. It was a change to the dark side, he would get aggressive, outspoken and depressive.’ And the friend recalls a particular event: ‘We had a few cans and Stephen got aggressive, early in the morning about 3 am Stephen hit me. I was in under my sleeping bag when he hit me.’

Another friend recalled that:

 ‘In 1994 we went to a 21st birthday party, and I remember a friend of Stephen [the friend quoted above] saying to me that if Stephen had drink he was my problem. Stephen had drink that night and went a bit mad, aggressive, loud, shouting etc.’ 

And his good friend (though not his best friend) Ciaran MacAodh provides the most descriptive scenes of Stephen Kershaws drinking. In one written recollection he says:

 ‘Stephen had always been a heavy drinker and would often drink to excess becoming aggressive and violent. He always drank fast and to excess when he went out.’ 

And Ciaran Mac Aodh recalls two particular encounters both of which was caused by Stephen Kershaw’s excessive drinking. The first occurred after a heavy drinking session in the Fibber McGee pub. After Stephen Kershaw stormed out of the pub Ciaran Mac Aodh recalls: 

‘I caught up with him on the Swords Nitelink…we were both a bit drunk….We weren’t drunk anymore but drink was still in our heads and loosened us up considerably.’

The other was an incident in Stephen Kershaw’s home: Ciaran Mac Aodh recalled:

 ‘Next thing I know I could hear Stephen storming up the stairs roaring….Stephen roaring threats….the Ma accused him of drinking, he said he wasn’t drunk. He had been though I was sure of it. His da said that if it wasn’t drink it was drungs cos you didn’t get like that on nothing. It was an idle comment that Stephen [took] seriously and he put two huge holes in the door in fury.’

Ciaran Mac Aodh recorded that:

 ‘Stephen I think began to drink in 1991 [when he was 15] but I was 16 before I went drinking with him, which would have been the night we finished the Junior Cert.’ 

Ciaran Mac Aodh may have seen Stephen Kershaw drink for the first time in 1991 but it was not the first time Stephen Kershaw had drank alcohol. He had been drinking alcohol for donkeys years prior to that. Easy access to alcohol may be one of the consequences of living in a household where one of the members is an alcoholic.   

Another is that the child sees negative changes in personality and negative patterns of behaviour in the alcoholic when he/she is drunk and the child may consciously or subconsciously begin to behave in a similar manner.

The effects on a child living in a household with an alcoholic is very well documented and may be the same as the effects of sexual abuse. But the reader can see why One in Four never alerts to the possibility that the addiction or problem with alcohol may have stemmed from the early childhood experience/trauma of living with the household with an alcoholic. It does not suit its purposes to do so and is totally unprofessional not to do so.

Any suggestion that Stephen Kershaw’s heavy drinking was because of alleged sexual abuse will not go unchallenged.  It will be demanded of him that he explain the effects on him of having lived his formative years in a household with an alcoholic. And these effects need clearly to be identified.