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Experiences Shared

Carolina

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Carolina is deaf and was sexually abused when she was seven years old. 

She says she wants to share her experience to help make sure that deaf children who suffer similar experiences are protected and supported.

Carolina explains that her mum was very young when she gave birth to her. She was left with a male babysitter, Ted, when her mum went out ‘partying’. One night Ted came into her bedroom and sexually abused her by carrying out oral sex on her.

She wasn’t sure what he was doing, but this happened a few times over the following weeks when her mum was out. Her siblings were in the other room. 

On another occasion, she found Ted downstairs looking at what she now knows is pornography. He got her to touch his erect penis, then told her to mimic one of the poses in the magazine. He attempted to anally rape her but she reacted because it hurt so much and he stopped.  

Carolina told an older relative what had happened and she was taken to the police station. She remembers there was a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter present. Ted admitted the abuse and was sent to prison.

She says that her family and his ‘fell out’ over this. 

About a year later, Carolina was sexually abused by another male family friend, Dermot, who was working in the house. She doesn’t remember a lot of the detail, but she knows that she was naked. 

Carolina said she experimented with ‘sex play’ with her friends before puberty, and this now disgusts her. She lost her virginity when she was 15 and she feels that her strong sexual desires were caused by the abuse that happened in her early childhood. 

She went on to have children with a partner who was physically abusive. They are no longer together but are ‘amicable for the children’s sake’. 

Carolina says she still feels angry that her mum often wasn’t around and that she didn’t protect her. Now Carolina has children of her own, she feels this even more strongly – she thinks she is ‘an overprotective mum’. 

She says her mum refuses to talk about the past and tends to ‘sweep it all under the carpet’ or portray herself as the victim.

Carolina adds that she was brought up to use speech and lipreading. Her mum resisted her using BSL and did not want her to associate with deaf people. She says she felt very oppressed by that. 

She explains that she wanted to give an account of her experiences. She was not offered mental health support and she feels there is not enough support offered for deaf children who are abused. She adds how important it is that parents teach their children right and wrong, and that they are offered support if their child is sexually abused. 

Carolina finds writing helpful and she is in a good relationship with a supportive partner. 

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