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Experiences Shared

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The‌ ‌Inquiry‌ ‌has‌ ‌taken‌ ‌the‌ ‌difficult decision‌‌ to‌ ‌stop‌ holding face to face Truth Project sessions‌ ‌at‌ ‌this‌ ‌time, after carefully considering the Government's guidance. Other methods of sharing are still available.

Aida

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Aida chose to share her experiences with the Truth Project by letter. She writes that she was sexually abused in her home from a very young age by her mother’s partner, and throughout her later life by other men.

As an adult this led to her feeling ‘timid, frightened and usable’ in an abusive marriage.

Her recollections of abuse by her mother’s boyfriend, begin from around the age of five. She describes how she and her younger brother were physically chastised by him, and this caused her to wet herself from fear.

Within about a year, her mother’s boyfriend was sexually abusing Aida. He would wait until Aida’s mother went shopping and then lock the door. He would remove her underwear and ‘inspect’ her, touch her intimately, sit her on his knee and ‘French kiss’ her, telling her ‘that was how he kissed mummy’.

He also abused Aida outside the home, taking her with him to get petrol and sweets and stopping in a country lane to sexually abuse her.

She recalls that the abuse progressed from when she was about seven years old. She describes a vivid memory of one day when her mother’s boyfriend abused her: ‘I was in bed but it was bright sunshine outside and I could hear children playing – so it must have been summer’.

He also sexually abused Aida at night when her mother was in bed asleep. He would come up to the bedroom she shared with her brother, wake her up and take her to the sitting room. She remembers him pushing her nightdress over her head and masturbating over her.

The abuse continued over many years, involving her abuser masturbating and forcing Aida to masturbate him, ‘interfering’ with her and making her read pornography. On one occasion he anally raped her.

Her abuser also involved Aida’s mother in the abuse, making the young girl watch him rape her mother while she lay drunk and naked on the floor. He would also relate graphic incidents of sexual encounters he had arranged for her mother.

Aida outlines in her letter further sexual abuse that she endured. She was 11 or 12 years old when a man touched her between the legs and on her breasts and tried to make her kiss him. He was considerably older than her, and a prominent person in the community, and she writes: ‘No one would have believed he would do such a thing’.

Another man, who was in his 20s, sexually abused Aida in a ‘relationship’ that began when she was 14 years old and continued for about five years.

Aida recounts that she went on to marry a man who physically, sexually and emotionally abused her. She describes what happened in the marriage: ‘I was forced to do things I didn’t want to do and I was too weak and terrified to leave him. He would often hit me and then want to have sex afterwards.

‘He hated me but I served a purpose as I guess as I was so obedient and he could use me.’

Aida eventually escaped her abusive husband by fleeing to a refuge.

She describes how years of abuse have affected her: she feels that she is ‘easy prey’, is unable to speak her mind and is frightened of entering into another relationship. As a parent she had a fear that a man would only want to be in a relationship with her to get close to and hurt her children.

She writes: ‘I‘ve seen it many times – young women with kids allowing a man she doesn’t really know into her home – something I would never do and this is how many children are abused.’

She adds that she hopes the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse ‘gets results and help and justice for children and all victims of paedophiles as I know how terribly abused they can be.’

Aida believes that new methods should be explored to find out if children have been sexually abused. She explains that until recently, if she had been asked if anything had happened to her she would have said ‘no’. She was not physically threatened to keep quiet and she knew that her mother ‘really loved’ her boyfriend and she didn’t want her to be hurt.

She says she did once write a note when she was a child, describing some of the abuse. She put it in her mother’s bedroom drawer but threw it away before her mother saw it.

Aida would like to see more people ‘with a balance of life experiences’ employed in social work, social care, health professions and teaching types of careers. She says ‘Intellectual ability is not everything … common sense is worth its weight in gold’.

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There are very limited circumstances where we tell anyone your name without your consent, for example if a child is currently at risk and we need to tell the police.