A Labour MP has revealed he was attacked and hospitalised as a teenager by a gang who believed he was gay.
During a debate on violence and harassment in schools, Chris Elmore told the Commons he was set upon aged 17 and had to undergo surgery.
The brutal attack, which he said happened in a friend’s house, came after several years of bullying which led to him being treated for repeated “mental breakdowns”.
“I know all too well the horrors of being attacked, which I was for supposedly being homosexual,” he said.
“Which I am not – and if I was, so what? – but that was the rationale for me being attacked, to the point where I was finally attacked and hospitalised at the age of 17, which resulted in my having to undergo minor reconstructive surgery to my face.
“I was assaulted in a friend’s home, by seven school friends, on the premise that I was ‘a gayer’ and therefore deserved the attacks I received.”
The Ogmore MP – a former cabinet member for children and young people at Vale of Glamorgan Council – said he believed many governing bodies were not aware of, or did not accept, the extent of the problem within schools.
“In some areas there is some lack of understanding of what is going on,” he added.
“The effects [of sexual violence and harassment] leave lasting scars on young girls, and those who have committed these offences – and they are offences in my view – feel it is acceptable to carry on doing so, because no action is taken.”
Elmore said although education was a devolved issue in Wales, and therefore managed by the Welsh Labour Government, the issue of violence, harassment and bullying in schools was important enough to transcend geographical borders.
“This stain on our society in unacceptable – and it does not have any boundaries in my opinion,” he added.