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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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Hema says religious leaders in her community ‘are like gods’, but one of them sexually abused her

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Religious leaders in the Sikh temple Hema’s family attended were revered by the community, and this made it impossible for her to tell her family that one of the religious leaders was sexually abusing her.

Hema explains that her parents would sometimes leave her and her sibling in the care of religious leaders at their temple. One of these men would offer Hema sweets, and ask her to hug him in return. She was six or seven years old when this began, and she remembers that the ‘hugs’ seemed to last longer and longer, and feel quite forceful.

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Reagan was sexually abused by the man she saw as a trusted father figure

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Reagan was abused by her mother’s partner nearly every day for three years.

She feels very let down by the way this was handled by police and social services.

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Caitlyn was abused by a member of the armed services but it was not properly investigated by the army

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Caitlyn’s father was in the army and her family lived in military accommodation.

She was sexually abused by another man in the military. When her mother reported the abuse, Caitlyn was subjected to a long ‘cross-examination’, on her own, by a male officer.

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Ophelia’s mother colluded in the sexual abuse of her daughter

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Ophelia was sexually abused and made pregnant by one of her mother’s partners.

Her mother allowed several men, including a family member, to abuse her.

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Silvia says she has been involved with institutions all her life and feels badly let down

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Silvia grew up as a vulnerable child and she feels this made her a target for a series of sexual abusers.

She has used her experiences to contribute to work to support other victims and survivors.

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After he was convicted of sexually abusing her, Erin’s grandfather was welcomed back into the family

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Erin was sexully abused by her paternal grandfather over a period of about eight years, in his home and her own.

The sexual abuse began when Erin was a small child. It usually occurred when her grandfather was babysitting or when she was staying at her grandparents’ home.

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Bernardo feels more people would come forward to talk about abuse if they knew they would get help

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Bernardo had a troubled home life and was sent to a ‘horrifying’ children’s home where another boy sexually abused him.

Later in life, a manager on a work experience scheme gave him the encouragement that he believes saved him ‘from the scrapheap’.

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Cindy feels shame that as a seven year old, she didn’t prevent herself being sexually abused

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Cindy was seven years old when she was sexually abused by a school caretaker. 

Even though she was a young child, she is tormented by a feeling that she ‘allowed’ him to go on abusing her.

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Dustin says ‘One of my greatest sadnesses has been that I’ve never had kids’

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Although Dustin’s faith has remained strong, he hasn’t been able to forget the abuse he suffered within the church. 

The abuse took place at the church where Dustin was a chorister. It began when he was 10 years old and continued for a number of years.

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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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Alyssa says ‘I was getting the attention online that I never got elsewhere’

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Alyssa was an only child and her mum was a single parent who worked long hours.

Lonely and isolated at home, Alyssa began chatting on online sites that were supposed to be for children, but were also frequented by adult sexual abusers.

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A doctor barred Warren’s parents from his examination room so he could sexually abuse his 13-year-old patient

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For over 35 years Warren has felt a “black cloud” permanently over him as a result of the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of a doctor.

Warren’s parents had a troubled relationship. His father was violent to him and his mother and by the time he was 12 years old his parents communicated with each other only through him.

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