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Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Blair was sexually abused by two perpetrators. 

She was very young the first time she was abused but has pieced the story together from her memories, what her family has told her and police records.

When she was about three or four, Blair’s family took in a lodger called Arthur, who worked as a children’s entertainer. He gained her trust and affection by doing magic tricks and playing with her.

Blair describes how Arthur ‘would crawl into my bed in the middle of the night a lot … I do remember him asking me to touch his penis’. He threatened to kill her mum and dad if she told anyone, but at the same time, he would continue to build trust by taking her out and having fun. 

‘These are my first memories, and then he left’ she says. 

A few years after Arthur left their home, Blair’s mum was talking to her about bullying, and Blair told her about things that Arthur had done to her. She describes how her mum ‘leapt out of bed and ran to the phone immediately’ and she remembers wondering if she had done something wrong. 

Blair’s mum told the police and she remembers describing what had happened to her with a doll, in a room with toys. 

After this, Blair’s mum had counselling, but Blair did not. 

She now knows that the family were told by the police that Arthur would not be prosecuted for sexually abusing Blair because he was already in prison ‘for something much worse’. She also learned that when he was living with them, he had skipped bail. 

When she was in her early teens, Blair had a ‘boyfriend’. She believed she was in a relationship with him but when he wanted to have sex with her, she knew she didn’t want to. However, she did not know how to say no to him, and he raped her.

Blair says she did not think it was rape because ‘he was not violent or aggressive’. 

Later she told a friend who alerted both of their parents and the abuse was reported to the police. The officer dealing with the case commented on her appearance, and added that she ought to be careful what she said – given her history of child sexual abuse, no one would believe her. 

Blair says she feels this is the most damaging thing anyone has ever said to her. The case against the rapist did not proceed.

In her later teenage years and into her 20s, Blair says she became promiscuous. ‘I didn’t understand how to have boundaries or respect my body.’ She used to binge drink and got into trouble with the police. She often felt suicidal, and she has feelings of worthlessness. She says she still finds it hard to manage her emotions and she feels disconnected from the world around her and other people. 

She does not understand why Arthur was allowed out on bail given the nature of the offences he was accused of. She also feels let down that she was not given any therapy as a young child when it came out that Arthur had sexually abused her. 

At school, she would get into fights and be aggressive and bully. She says ‘I wish someone had got to my level and asked “Why are you angry?”’ She says there was one teacher who was ‘amazing … patient, kind and understanding’. Her mum now says she wishes she had had more insight into why she was behaving this way. 

As well as wishing that she had been given counselling, Blair says that there should be more support for all victims and survivors. She says there should be better awareness that rape is not always forced or violent, and that children under 16 cannot consent to sexual intercourse. She adds that the police and other professionals dealing with cases of child sexual abuse should be professional at all times and not share their personal opinions.

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