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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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Nige was subjected to extreme neglect and abuse, but a psychiatrist labelled him ‘delinquent’

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Nige grew up in appalling conditions at home, deprived of basic necessities. 

He suffered further abuse in the care system, including rape.

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Matthias says that when he was in a children’s home ‘we lived with fear every day’

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Matthias spent his entire childhood and adolescence in the care system. 

He suffered abuse and brutality and witnessed other children suffering the same, but none of the professionals he reported this to took any action to protect them.

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Jill was traumatised when her family covered up her grandfather’s sexual abuse

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The trauma of being sexually abused as a child by her grandfather became even more devastating when Jill realised that other family members had known and been complicit in covering it up.

Jill relates that she came from a middle-class background, with a businessman father. When her parents divorced very acrimoniously her time was split between them, with most of the holidays spent with her father.

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Diane was sexually abused by a teacher and left feeling anxious and suicidal

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A teacher at Diane’s school exploited his position of power and authority to sexually abuse her. From then until now, the emotions and effects this caused for her have included feeling flattered, confused, depressed, anxious and suicidal.

Diane relates that when she started senior school, she became friendly with one of the teachers, Mr Jones.

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Nat says ‘I see how things can be triggered much later in life’

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Several decades after he was sexually abused, Nat suffered a mental health crisis.

His experiences gave him insight into the provision of services and he has suggestions for ways they could be more responsive to individual needs.

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‘I just wanted my mum to love me’ says Dexter

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Dexter’s earliest memories are of feeling no love from his parents, only fear. 

Desperate for affection, he was grateful for the hugs his older brother gave him. But this comfort was a prelude to sexual abuse.

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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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George is angry that he was sexually abused in the navy and hopes others will come forward

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George says his family life was ‘not great’. In his mid-teens he left home and joined the navy hoping to find a better existence.

He was drafted on board a ship where there was an officer in the same sleeping quarters called Denis. Denis presented himself as a friend to the young sailor, but George now feels that the officer groomed him.

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Rick’s school was supposed to provide stability for the children of army personnel

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Rick lived with his mother and stepfather, who was in the armed forces.

He was sent to an army boarding school run by a sadistic and abusive headteacher.

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Martin was sexually abused by someone involved with – but not employed by – the church

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Martin was abused as a teenager by someone in a position of trust at his family’s church. He recalls it happening on only one occasion, but it has had a significant effect on his life. 

His parents did not find it unusual that Martin was visiting the perpetrator’s house, where the abuse happened. He did not tell anyone about the abuse at the time because he did not know who to tell, nor did he understand what has happening to him.

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Farley says the man who abused him ‘groomed everybody ... the whole church and the community’

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Farley grew up in a close family of church-goers. 

He was sexually abused by an official in the church, a popular and friendly man who was liked and trusted in the community. 

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Ronan says it is important to him to be believed about what happened 50 years ago

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Ronan says that from an early age, he was seen as a ‘problem child’ and was sent to live with relatives. 

When his older cousin sexually abused him, he was punished for complaining about it and told he was lying.

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