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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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60 years after being sexually abused at private school, Henry came to the Truth Project

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Henry says it was difficult for him to come forward to the Truth Project; in 60 years he has never spoken about his sexual abuse to anyone other than his partner.

Henry hopes that talking about the sexual abuse he suffered will form a small but important part of the Inquiry ‘jigsaw’ and may in some way help to protect others from similar experiences.

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Violence was ‘normal’ for Bobby when he was growing up, which left him vulnerable to sexual abuse

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Bobby’s parents were alcoholics and had a violent relationship, which Bobby often witnessed. The family were known to social services and he was in and out of care as a child.

On one occasion he was placed with a ‘lovely’ foster family, but he says he could not emotionally handle their niceness. Social services placed him with another family that he did not like from the first meeting.The foster father used to mock him. Bobby told the social worker that he did not want to stay with the foster family, but he was left there.

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Jack says ‘I hated everyone, nobody cared and I was abusing solvents and truanting’

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Placed in care due to a family break-up, Jack’s vulnerability was exploited by a worker in the care system. Years later a gesture of kindness from a teacher was a turning point in his chaotic life that helped him reassess his view of the world.

Jack tried to report his abuser, but his experience was frustrating and unsatisfactory.

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After a lifetime of physical abuse, Glenn thought a sexual abuser was showing him love

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Glenn’s story begins when he was taken away from his homeless mother soon after he was born and taken into care. His mother was denied visitation rights and she had passed away by the time he left care. He never knew the identity of his father. 

He spent time in several different children’s homes across the country. During this time, he suffered physical and sexual abuse by his carers and at the hands of regular visitors approved by the homes. 

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Simon was sexually abused in the care system and came to the Truth Project to help others change their lives

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Neglected and physically abused by his birth mother, Simon spent his childhood in the care system, where he was subjected to serial sexual abuse.

He feels deep empathy for others who have suffered in a similar way and wants to use his experiences to help victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

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Lee was groomed and sexually abused by a Scout leader who exploited his loneliness and vulnerability

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Lee transitioned to male as an adult. He was sexually abused as a young teenage girl. Lee describes his former self as a vulnerable child, who was bullied in school, and had no friends.

He was unhappy at home and says he felt he had no adult advocates. He found comfort in reading and at school he was placed on both the gifted and talented track and the learning difficulties track. He began self-harming by cutting around the age of 11 years but hid this from his parents.

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Discovering that her young daughter had been sexually abused triggered Pamela’s own memories of abuse

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Pamela describes her horror when she discovered that her young child was being sexually abused by an organised group. This revelation, devastating in itself, also triggered a flood of dreadful memories and nightmares for Pamela.

Her early life was loveless and defined by brutality and neglect. As a baby she was placed in a residential nursery, after the death of her mother. She later lived with her step family as a young child until her early teenage years. She remembers beatings, starvation and neglect, and how unhappy she was.

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Fin was sexually abused as a boy sailor in the Navy in the 1950s

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Fin says that until the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal emerged, he felt he had put the events that happened to him as a teenager ‘more or less to bed’, but now describes how being sexually abused has had a lasting effect on him.

He joined the navy in the 1950s as a boy sailor. The officer in charge of the sailing school praised his talent and put him in a position of responsibility.

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Marcus feels the Scouts turned a blind eye to his sexual abuse in the 1960s and 70s

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Marcus was sexually abused during the 1960s and 70s by men from his local Scout Association and the church.

His quest for acknowledgment, an apology and recompense has been impeded by the length of time it took him to report the sexual abuse. He points out: ‘It is very difficult to actually complain about something you didn’t really recognise was going on.’

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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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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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Richard says that children should not be sent to boarding schools

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Richard was sent to a boarding school where sexual abuse was perpetrated by staff and pupils. He feels strongly that parents should protect their children from potentially abusive environments.

When Richard was a young child, his parents divorced, and he and his mother moved to another area. Life was not easy for them, and social services became involved.

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