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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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Joe blames himself for not fighting off the man who raped him in a custodial institution

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Mistreated and neglected as a child at home, Joe committed a range of petty thefts, sometimes to feed himself. He built up a record of offences and was sent to a residential institution where his experience was very positive. He says ‘I absolutely adored it’.

Sadly, this respite from his difficult life ended when he was sent to a custodial institution. Joe relates how the day he arrived, he was given cleaning duties and told to clean the corridor.

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Alistair is determined his children will have the childhood that was taken from him

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Alistair grew up in the countryside and describes his childhood as ‘idyllic’ but marred by a single incident of abuse.

He describes how he was unable to tell anyone what had happened and how it troubled him for many years, before he spoke to the Truth Project.

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Samuel’s family were part of a religion where everything was about control, manipulation and gratification

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Samuel was born into a religious organisation, which he describes as a cult, that subjected him to sexual, physical and mental abuse.

He says the organisation focused selectively on parts of the Bible concerning discipline and, in his opinion, took this to the extreme. He describes life as ‘harsh’ for him and the other children in the religious group.

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Cliff says children in care need to be looked after and listened to

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Cliff was arrested as a teenager for petty theft. As a result, social services obtained an interim care order and he was put into care and placed in a children’s home.

There were six boys in the dormitory in the home. One of them began bullying Cliff and made him perform sex acts on him. This abuse happened both in and around the home.

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Maria says 'I can't remember a time when I didn't know what sex was'

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As a baby Maria was removed from her mother’s care after being found alone and neglected. Her father worked away and could not look after Maria so she was placed with her grandparents.

There she was sexually abused by a lodger and two of her uncles. Later, she bravely protected her younger sister from the same fate.

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Alex would like to see a ‘consent culture’ taught in schools

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Note: Alex asked to be referred to as 'they' for personal reasons.

Alex describes a ‘terrible time’ during childhood with an abusive mother and stepfather and sexual assaults at school.

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After he was abused, Bryn led a troubled life, but says counselling changed everything for him

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Although his parents split up, Bryn describes his childhood as happy. But sexual abuse by a cadet leader altered the course of his life.

Bryn was the youngest of three children. His mother was in her early 20s when his father left the family. Bryn missed him, but soon after, his mother got a new partner, and Bryn says he could not have asked for a better stepfather. He was also close to his grandfather.

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Agatha describes being on ‘high alert … in a state of constant anxiety’ throughout her fostering

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Agatha’s mother had mental health difficulties and found it difficult to care for her children. Because of this, Agatha and her siblings were placed in care.

She was sexually abused by the sons and father in her foster family, and physically and emotionally abused by the mother. She finds it hard to believe the family was paid to care for her and her sister: ‘They totally abused their position of trust.’

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Leonard is upset that his parents’ trust was betrayed by the priests who sexually abused him

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Leonard’s family were devout Christians and he and his two siblings were sent to church schools. He and one of his siblings were sexually abused by priests but at the time did not confide in each other or their parents.

Leonard describes how tortured he felt by the abuse, and his distress that his parents were so cruelly deceived by people they respected and trusted.

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Dylan lost his faith when he was sexually abused by a curate, who was protected by the church

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Dylan grew up in a family of active church members. But the sexual abuse he and others were subjected to by a curate and the inadequate response from the church have caused him extreme distress and turned him away from his religion.

The sexual abuse happened to Dylan when he was a boy. In his teenage years, he saw a news report about his abuser, Jacob, who had been convicted of an offence against another boy. This prompted Dylan to disclose his own abuse to his parents.

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Teagan says ‘I didn’t understand what had happened to me until I was much older’

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Teagan was sexually abused by her brother and his friend, who were six years older than her. The teenage boys also abused some of her friends.

The abuse began when she was nine years old and continued through her childhood. It has caused lasting damage to her family relationships and her mental health.

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Ben says ‘Looking at the map of my abuse, everybody knew … nobody stopped it.’

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As a young boy, Ben loved his local church and joined the choir, often performing at concerts.

He thought the choirmaster, Robin, seemed like a ‘nice, modern chap’ and was pleased when Robin invited him to his home to see a train set.

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