Conductor discusses impact of child sexual abuse with Desert Island Discs host

Conductor Charles Hazlewood has said he had to go on a “long process of recovery” as a result of the sexual abuse he suffered as a child.

The musician said on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs that he felt “ready to share the hidden part” of his life in public for the first time after “over a decade of healing and therapy”.

Hazlewood told host Lauren Laverne he had decided to talk about it because “abuse is something which thrives on secrecy, that is the toxic energy which it derives its power from”.

He said: “I was the victim of sexual abuse through most of my childhood.”

The conductor added: “All of the paedophiles that I knew as a child, they sold it to me as a form of love and that is the most confusing and corrupting thing to get a child to invest in and believe in.

“It fundamentally messes up your entire wiring so I would just say to anyone who is frightened that they might have some of that in them, don’t ever kid yourself that this is love.

“Don’t ever kid yourself that the child can be an equal partner in this.

“All you are doing is giving them a stain and a whole bunch of damage inside them which will probably last their entire life.”

Hazlewood said he did not discuss the abuse he was suffering with anyone despite the fact he was showing a lot of behaviours that would be questioned by parents in the present day.

He said he felt “quite suicidal quite a lot of the time” after being sent away to boarding school because of his behaviour.

The conductor said he has had to undergo “a long process of recovery”, adding: “I have been incredibly, incredibly lucky to have my beautiful wife and my beautiful children around me, holding my hand and hugging me and just holding me tight and safe as I have made my way through.”

Sunday’s Desert Island Discs is on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday at 11am and on BBC Sounds.