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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.

Download a PDF sample of accounts

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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.
The Truth Project will draw to a close during 2021. We encourage you to share your experience before it concludes.

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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Peter was abused by teachers and other boys in a residential school for the deaf

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Peter is deaf. As a child he was sent to a boarding school for the deaf because, he says, his parents believed he would fare better in this environment.

But their trust in the school was betrayed by teachers who sexually abused their son and other boys.

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The priest who abused Greg groomed his family first, and then fought the civil case he eventually brought

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Greg came from a very ‘church going’ background. His family moved to a new house in a small town and became involved with the clergy at the church.

When a new priest, Ken, joined their church, Greg's parents took him under their wing. Ken was a regular visitor and often ate with the family.

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Jayne’s foster father warned her that if she left home he’d ‘just get another young girl’

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Jayne gives a poignant account of being unloved and abused throughout her childhood.

The people who should have protected her disbelieved her, or criticised her behaviour, instead of questioning the possible causes.

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Lucinda says she only recently ‘stopped beating myself up and thinking it was all my fault’

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Lucinda’s parents immigrated to the UK in the 1960s.

They relied on lodgers to look after their children when they were at work. Two of these people sexually abused Lucinda, and she felt guilty about the tension this caused in the family.

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Russell was sexually abused by his family GP, but the police did not investigate

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Russell did not talk about his abuse for many years, until it came out in a counselling session. Since then he has not been able to forget about it.

He says that, looking back, he realises he was abused by his family doctor at his very first appointment, even though his mother was in the room.

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At first, the boarding school that Errol was sent to seemed a safer place than his home

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Errol had behavioural problems and was sent to a residential school when he was 11 years old. 

He was sexually abused by an older boy, and although school staff knew about this, they did nothing to protect him.

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Tamsyn’s brother sexually abused her but the police dismissed it as ‘experimenting’

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Tamsyn grew up with three brothers. Her parents were neglectful and had a volatile relationship. 

She said that sexual behaviour was ‘normalised’ within the family from as far back as she can remember, and she was abused by two of her brothers, and one of their friends.

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Edison experienced humiliation and betrayal when he reported sexual abuse

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Edison grew up witnessing regular violence from his stepfather towards his mother. After the couple separated, his mother believed the reason her son continued to spend time with her ex-partner was that their relationship had survived the marital breakdown. 

In fact, Edison’s stepfather was sexually abusing him, and threatened to kill Edison and his mother if he stopped visiting or told anyone. 

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Linda says ‘Survivors must not carry the shame of their perpetrators, or those that know but do not act’

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Linda describes her abuser as the ‘classic groomer; charming and intelligent’. Because she was very unhappy at home, she was particularly vulnerable to his abuse. She says ‘I thought he was my best friend’.

Mr Bradley was a teacher in Linda’s secondary school. He kept animals and she and many other girls in her class would help to look after them.

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Kirsty was sexually abused in care and says care leavers need more support

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Kirsty experienced violence and deprivation at home with her mother. She says that during her time in care, the kindness of one key worker provided her with some of the happiest memories she has of her childhood. However, she was sexually abused by two workers in children’s homes and this experience inflicted lasting pain and damage on her.

Most of her young life, along with that of her siblings, was spent in and out of a children’s home. Kirsty had a very close relationship with her housemother, who she says was like a mother to her. But an assistant housemother, Mrs Pottering, sexually abused Kirsty during her bath times.

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One social worker thought that in Nicky’s family ‘there is sexual rivalry between mum and her daughters’

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Nicky grew up in the 1970s in conditions of squalor and neglect. She was sexually abused throughout her childhood into her teenage years by several perpetrators.

She also relates a catalogue of indifference and failures by social services and the police. 

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