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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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Due to the current situation caused by coronavirus (Covid-19) we have made some changes to Truth Project sessions in person. You can still share your experience with the Truth Project over the phone, in writing, and now through a video call.

Chloe, sexually abused by a family friend and curate at the church, struggled with the legal process

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Publicity about child sex abuse cases prompted Chloe to report incidents that occurred when she was a young teenager. This resulted in a successful prosecution, but the abuse has had a significant effect on her mental health and the court case was very difficult for her.

Chloe has a recollection of sexual abuse by a family friend that occurred when she was between the ages of five and 11 years, but she cannot remember the details.

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Jessie says that she still struggles with feelings of shame, but with support, she is moving forward

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After Jessie’s parents got divorced, her paternal grandfather looked after her after school and sometimes at weekends. 

He sexually abused Jessie when she was between the ages of 10 and 12. 

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In the two places that Brittany should have been able to call home, she was sexually abused

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Brittany’s parents were separated. During her chaotic childhood she mainly lived with her mum, who had different partners, and sometimes with her dad.

But she was not safe in either place. Both the father figures in her life sexually abused her.

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Nathan asks ‘Why did nobody think “Why is this grown man going on holiday with these kids?”’

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Nathan was born in the 1970s to a Catholic family. He was stalked, intimidated and sexually abused by the parish priest.

As an adult, he reported the abuse to the church, but was told the priest was no longer a threat as he was in a retirement home.

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Vivien believed the abuser who told her people would be ‘disgusted’ with her

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When she was about 11 years old, Vivien was sexually abused by a young male adult who was the older brother of one of her school friends.  

Vivien had gone to play at her friend’s house. During a game of hide and seek, she went to hide in a shed, and found the young male in there. He called her over and started stroking her hair and complimenting her.

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Josie wants social services to apologise for ignoring her reports that she was being abused in care

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Josie was placed in foster care after she disclosed that she was being sexually abused by two family members. 

She then suffered more abuse by the son of her foster parents. Social services refused to move her, even though she repeatedly told them what was happening.

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Aalia feels she was traumatised a second time by the criminal justice system

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Years of sexual abuse that began when she was a small girl led Aalia to obsessively self‑harm. Years later she endured the ordeal of multiple trials.

Aalia was around seven or eight years old when she started going to the local mosque with her sibling. Soon she began going on her own, arriving early and waiting downstairs. A new mosque representative noticed her and suggested she should say her prayers early in his quarters. She thought this odd but agreed. He would stand next to her and compliment her. This went on for a few weeks.

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Karyn, sexually abused by her stepfather and his sons, wants the lasting effects of abuse to be recognised

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When her mother’s boyfriend, Brian, moved into the family home, Karyn’s childhood was devastated by terror and physical and sexual violence.

She is still enduring the severe effects of this trauma on every aspect of her health and wellbeing.

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Neala describes how her treatment in court made her regret reporting the sexual abuse she suffered

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During her youth, Neala belonged to the army cadets. When she was in her mid teens  she was sexually abused by an adult male sergeant.

He was later prosecuted, but acquitted. Neala provides a balanced account of the legal process she experienced, highlighting the contrast in the way that defendants and victims and survivors are treated.

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Nicole says ‘the responses to my disclosure have caused me a lifetime of struggle’

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Nicole’s father died when she was four years old, and her mother got remarried to a violent and abusive man. 

Her troubled and chaotic home life, with no supportive parenting, made her vulnerable to a series of sexual assaults from older boys, and later to further abuse by an adult relative.

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Ethyn did not report a fellow schoolboy for abusing him ‘out of loyalty’

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Ethyn was sent to a private boarding school where he was targeted by older pupils and teachers for sexual abuse.

The large dormitory in which Ethyn slept was supervised by a prefect who made it clear he considered Ethyn, who was not yet a teenager, to be ‘pretty’.

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Brielle says that child sexual abuse is often perpetrated by someone a child knows and trusts

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As a child, Brielle felt unloved by her parents. She believes this made her vulnerable to sexual abuse, which she mistook for the affection she craved.

Brielle explains that her parents were completely ‘emotionally absent’ from her life. They never gave her a goodnight kiss, or held her hand, and certainly never spoke of loving her. 

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