Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

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

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Fin was sexually abused as a boy sailor in the Navy in the 1950s

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Fin says that until the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal emerged, he felt he had put the events that happened to him as a teenager ‘more or less to bed’, but now describes how being sexually abused has had a lasting effect on him.

He joined the navy in the 1950s as a boy sailor. The officer in charge of the sailing school praised his talent and put him in a position of responsibility.

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After a lifetime of physical abuse, Glenn thought a sexual abuser was showing him love

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Glenn’s story begins when he was taken away from his homeless mother soon after he was born and taken into care. His mother was denied visitation rights and she had passed away by the time he left care. He never knew the identity of his father. 

He spent time in several different children’s homes across the country. During this time, he suffered physical and sexual abuse by his carers and at the hands of regular visitors approved by the homes. 

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Simon was sexually abused in the care system and came to the Truth Project to help others change their lives

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Neglected and physically abused by his birth mother, Simon spent his childhood in the care system, where he was subjected to serial sexual abuse.

He feels deep empathy for others who have suffered in a similar way and wants to use his experiences to help victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

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Derek says that if people focus on compensation, they will not address solutions and cures

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Derek describes how being sexually abused by a teacher at boarding school made him feel embarrassed and guilty.

The teacher was very friendly and would invite Derek to his room, where he drew him into a sexual relationship. Derek says that at the time he felt there was no cruelty involved. Instead he felt bad for ‘encouraging favourable treatment’ and for doing something that he knew was wrong.

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Charlotte sought help from an authority figure who exploited her vulnerability, becoming her abuser

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Charlotte grew up in a strict, religious family. From a young age she was sexually abused by her father and other abusers. When she found the courage to report the abuse during confession to a priest, Father Callum, she hoped he would help her.

Instead, Father Callum approached her father and they began sexually abusing her together. Charlotte recalls that the abuse became more brutal after Father Callum became involved.

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Emily felt in a permanent state of fear and worthlessness during her childhood

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Emily describes how she endured extreme physical and emotional abuse by her mother, which caused chaos in her life and led to her being sexually abused.

Continually threatened and tortured at home, Emily says she felt scared and unloved. She recalls that when she was about seven years old, she stole £1 from her mother, who threatened to cut off one of her fingers with a large knife.

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The headmaster who sexually abused Tim was moved to other schools and evidence was destroyed by the church

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Tim recalls how pleased he and his family were when he was allocated a place at the local church school. He says the headmaster ‘took a shine’ to him – he chose Tim to join the school choir and often called him to his office to read aloud and take tests.

But it was not long before the nature of these sessions changed. While Tim was reading, the headmaster began touching him inappropriately, before sending him back to class. Tim did not understand what was going on.

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After being sexually abused in care, Katie says care records need to be accurate and transparent

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Katie was taken into care at a young age but is not sure exactly why. She says she felt well‑loved by her family but remembers her mother forgetting to pick her up from school a couple of times, having been drinking.

Katie describes the next six years of her life in children’s homes as ‘hell on earth’. She was subjected to sexual abuse, violent assault, emotional abuse and neglect. On one occasion she believes she nearly died – she had a serious illness, but care staff did not believe she was ill and would not seek medical help.

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At the approved school Tommy was sent to, abuse was used to keep children in line

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Tommy was sent to an approved school in the 1960s, enduring separation from his beloved siblings, and physical and sexual abuse. He was harshly punished when he tried to take solace in innocent pastimes.

Tommy grew up in a large family. He describes his father as very caring – he worked hard but always had time for his children.

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Joanne says ‘like pebbles thrown into a pond, the ripples keep on getting bigger’

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Joanne was first sexually abused by a neighbour as a young child and by others as she grew older. Responses to her suffering by many of the adults in authority she encountered included blame (of her), unkindness, indifference and inappropriate advice.

During her childhood, Joanne was intermittently placed in care. Her mother suffered from mental illness and was an alcoholic. She had a memory of childhood sexual abuse by a neighbour when she was a young child, and now knows that a social services case report described her in the following terms: ‘Joanne was wilful and defiant, sexually precocious … indecently assaulted by a man who was later convicted.’

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Joseph’s pain is made worse by feeling he could have prevented other children being abused in the Scouts

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Joseph tells of the continuing anguish he feels as a result of being abused by his scoutmaster, Seth. The abuse occurred on a weekly basis when he was in the Scouts and he now knows that Seth was abusing other children, although he did not know this at the time.

Another person who was abused by Seth made a complaint about him. When Joseph saw this information in the press, he came forward, as did other victims and survivors.

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The priest who abused Giles was moved from ‘place to place’ by the church to protect the institution

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Giles attended a religious boarding school. He was a very good singer and a member of the choir. Giles described himself as a typical ‘cute little choir boy’.

The man who abused him, Arthur, was not a member of the teaching staff but a visiting musician associated with the school.

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