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Experiences Shared

These are some of the experiences of child sexual abuse shared with the Truth Project by victims and survivors. All names and identifying details have been changed.

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The‌ ‌Inquiry‌ ‌has‌ ‌taken‌ ‌the‌ ‌difficult decision‌‌ to‌ ‌stop‌ holding face to face Truth Project sessions‌ ‌at‌ ‌this‌ ‌time, after carefully considering the Government's guidance. Other methods of sharing are still available.

Colin says ‘You always carry that stigma’ but has spoken out now after many years

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Neglected by his mother and sexually abused throughout his childhood by adults who were supposed to care for him, Colin is striving to come to terms with his experiences.

Colin says that part of this process, with help from his wife and a support worker, is talking about feelings he suppressed for many years, and speaking out to the Inquiry.

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Molly believes her stepfather got together with her mother because she had children he could abuse

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Molly was abused by her stepfather for more than 10 years. 

He controlled her with threats and manipulation, but eventually she reported the abuse and he was jailed for the torment he had inflicted on her and her brother.

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Aida says: ‘I have told very few people what happened … my ex-husband said it was my fault’

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Aida chose to share her experiences with the Truth Project by letter. She writes that she was sexually abused in her home from a very young age by her mother’s partner, and throughout her later life by other men.

As an adult this led to her feeling ‘timid, frightened and usable’ in an abusive marriage.

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When Aaron heard a tree branch hitting his bedroom window he was terrified it was his abuser

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Aaron’s father worked for the emergency services. The family house was provided with his employment and their next door neighbour was a work colleague. 

When Aaron was about five years old, this neighbour began to sexually abuse him. To this day, certain sounds can trigger distressing memories for him.

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When asked to recall a happy childhood memory, Gene could not think of a single one

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One of the many painful memories that Gene lives with is not feeling any affection from his mother, and the fact that she constantly went out.

This damaged him emotionally, and resulted in him being sexually abused by two of the people he was left with.

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Jessica was told that ‘people like you’ do not get justice

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During the 1980s, when she was aged between 12 and 16 years, Jessica was sexually and physically abused at various children’s homes.

She describes how she has fought and campaigned for justice and transparency for many years because she wants to prevent others going through the same experiences. She says she will not rest until light is finally shone on the sexual abuse perpetrated in the area where she grew up.

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Isobel would like to see a victim-centred justice system that triggers specialist mental health support

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Isobel was one of five children in a family that never had enough money. She describes her childhood as ‘hard’. As she was mature for her age, she took on a helping role alongside her mother. She found school difficult and felt ‘isolated and lost’ there.

One of the teachers, Mr Smith, ran a club that her siblings attended, and he suggested she join too. He organised outward bound trips for the club; Isobel was always given her own tent and it was on one of these outings that he began to sexually abuse her. She reflects that not only did he groom her but also her family, as her mother probably welcomed another adult taking her children on holidays when she could not afford to. 

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Pablo says male victims and survivors of abuse can be particularly affected when they become parents

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The first time Pablo realised the enormity of his childhood sexual abuse was when he discovered he was going to become a father.

Pablo was brought up by his mother, who was unable to show love to her children, and instead focused on her work and relationships with men. She married several times; one of her husbands regularly beat Pablo, another was an abusive alcoholic who terrified him. 

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Fletcher was a GI baby who was put into care with no one to look out for him

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Fletcher was born towards the end of the Second World War. His mother was English and married to a British soldier who was serving overseas. His father was a black American GI. 

Handed over to the care system, Fletcher was sexually abused by the headteacher of a boys’ home. 

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Anita was sexually abused by a relative. Justice was only done after many years and family discord

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As a young child, Anita was regularly taken to visit her grandparents. On these visits, a family member would take her off to a different room and sexually abuse her. 

She had a medical condition which meant that she was frequently in hospital. During one consultation she told the doctor that she ‘hurting down below’. Instead of reporting this, the doctor advised Anita’s mother to ‘blow on’ the parts that were sore. Anita’s mother thought that Anita was being ‘all dramatic’ and she continued to be taken to her grandparents’ home, where her family member would be.

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Nataliya sedated herself with over-the-counter medication to try to stop her stepfather abusing her

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Nataliya was born into a Traveller family and a strict upbringing barred her from mixing with non-Travellers or anyone of the opposite sex.

She was sexually abused for more than 10 years by a family member.  

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Gary says ‘My parents thought the school would look after us but they wanted to cover it up’

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Gary was one a group of boys who were sexually abused by a member of the support staff at their school.

When they complained, teaching staff in the school ostracised them to the extent that their education was affected. The abuser was later convicted.

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