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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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When Aaron heard a tree branch hitting his bedroom window he was terrified it was his abuser

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Aaron’s father worked for the emergency services. The family house was provided with his employment and their next door neighbour was a work colleague. 

When Aaron was about five years old, this neighbour began to sexually abuse him. To this day, certain sounds can trigger distressing memories for him.

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Ezra’s father only believed him after media reports about the children’s home

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Ezra grew up in a large family. He describes himself as the ‘black sheep’ because he got into trouble so much.

At the age of 12, he was put in a children’s home where he was sexually abused. He reported it but was not believed.

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Melvin observes ‘Sometimes the friendliest, most personable people are the worst abusers’

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When Melvin was sexually abused at the age of nine, he felt able to tell his loving and supportive parents what had happened.

But the following year, the local vicar began grooming him and then sexually abusing him. The abuser was liked and respected by Melvin’s church-going family, and the local parish community. This caused great confusion for Melvin, and made it impossible for him to speak out about the abuse.

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Eileen cannot recall any happy memories from her childhood

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Eileen and her sister were subjected to sexual abuse from her brothers and father, who was also a heavy drinker with a violent temper that he took out on all the children and his wife. 

This abuse began when Eileen was six or seven years old and continued until she was 15 or 16, when both brothers were married and left home.

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Walter wants the man who sexually abused him to understand the consequences of what he did

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Walter has a developmental disability and a learning difficulty.

A member of staff at his secondary school took advantage of his differences and sexually abused him.

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Malia believes that institutional racism was one reason why the abuse she endured was not spotted

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Malia was sexually abused by her father and another adult, who made her pregnant.

She says that signs of abuse were ignored by authorities because of attitudes towards black people. Malia says that at school, racism was rife and no one took any interest in her. ‘You was black, no one gave a shit’. 

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Carolyn’s parents were concerned she would be ‘shamed’ as a victim

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Carolyn was sexually abused by a ‘family man’ when she was on holiday with her parents in the 1960s.

She feels that attitudes to sexual abuse and victims and survivors have changed in the years since she was abused. She wishes that more action had been taken to stop this man possibly abusing others.  

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Lawrie says for many years, he ‘coped’ with being sexually abused by not thinking or talking about it

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When Lawrie was sexually abused at the age of nine, he didn’t understand it but he knew it was wrong.

Decades later, after the Jimmy Savile scandal came to light, he decided to speak about the abuse for the first time.

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Maya feels children abused by family members fear they will damage the family if they speak out

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Maya describes a difficult family life, with a violent father and a sexually abusive stepfather.

This left her vulnerable to abuse by others. Her awareness of sexual abuse makes her fearful for the safety of her children.

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Kellie says victims and survivors with low self-esteem need support to report child sexual abuse

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Kellie was sexually abused by her foster father throughout her teenage years.

She says it is only because she is a successful professional she feels she has ‘a fighting chance’ to deal with the justice system and the abuser. 

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Scarlett tried to talk to a priest about her abuse but he told her ‘don’t make a fuss’

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Scarlett was sexually abused as a child and teenager. 

She became pregnant twice before she was 16 but none of the professionals who knew this took effective action.

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Katelyn says ‘A lot of women are in prison because they weren’t protected as children’

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Katelyn’s troubles began when her mum married a man called Kaine, who was from a Traveller family. Katelyn says her stepfather ‘was a bad man’. 

He sexually abused her when she was about 11, and possibly before that. Katelyn remembers her mum asking her and her sibling ‘if anything had happened’. But later, when she did disclose the abuse, her mother threw her out of the house.

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