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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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Because Bryony was abused at home, she felt there was ‘nowhere to hide’

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Bryony was sexually abused for five years in her family home.

Her father was an angry and intimidating figure, and she had no adult she could trust or confide in.

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Denny hopes that there is better protection today for young people in custody than there was for him

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Criminal behaviour, alcohol abuse and violence was a regular feature in Denny’s family life when he was growing up in the 1970s and 80s.

He spent time in a youth detention centre as a teenager, where he was subjected to violent assaults and sexual abuse.

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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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Philida-May doesn’t know how old she was when she was abused; in care no one marked her birthdays

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Philida-May was three years old when her mum died, and she has no memory of her. 

She was sent to a care home where she experienced no warmth, encouragement or joy, only neglect and abuse.

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Lucy’s trauma has caused lifelong problems for herself and her family

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Hospitalised at the age of 11 years because of an assault by her mother, Lucy was taken into care and placed with a foster family. There, she was raped repeatedly by a violent man and his two teenage sons.

Lucy’s attempts to seek justice have not succeeded and she has suffered severe mental health difficulties. Despite this, she has managed to build strong and happy relationships with her family and loved ones.

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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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As a survivor of sexual abuse, Wasiba now challenges the attitudes of men in her family

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Wasiba was brought up in a large Muslim family. When she was eight years old her father deserted them.

He had been violent towards Wasiba’s mother, and she says it was a relief to be away from him. But older male cousins and their friends began to sexually abuse her, threatening to tell her family if she disobeyed them.

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Gabriel feels that more support might have stopped his life spiralling out of control

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Gabriel and his sibling were sexually abused by their father. 

His father was given a character reference by his church and Gabriel thinks this helped ensure he received a very short sentence. 

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Kimberly’s father sexually abused her during her childhood, and again when she was an adult

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Kimberly grew up in a very large family, where the children were not given any love or support.

Social services were aware that her parents were abusing alcohol but did not spot that sexual abuse was also occurring in the home.

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Decades after he was abused, Jorge says ‘I have managed to become the person I want and need to be’

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When he was growing up, Jorge dreamed of flying in the RAF. When he met a pilot, it seemed ‘like a dream come true’.

But, he says, ‘things changed quickly’.

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Miley says she was happy in care because she had clothes and was allowed to play

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Miley was fostered when she was a small child as both her parents had been in prison, but she was returned to them.

She was physically and emotionally abused by her mother every day and sexually abused by her father from the age of nine.

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The teacher who abused Roisin told her an important lesson in life was knowing how to lie

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Roisin was vulnerable and isolated when she was a child.

A teacher singled Roisin out to groom and sexually abuse her. She now realises she had been brainwashed into believing it was a love affair.

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