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Experiences Shared

Charlene

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Charlene grew up with her mum and grandma. She did not have any contact with her dad, and when she went to play at a friend’s house, she liked the fact that her friend’s father gave her attention.

In later years, she began to understand that he was a sexual abuser.

Charlene says that she liked her friend’s dad, Pete, and he encouraged her to sit on his lap. She explains that her friend and other members of the family were in the room when he did this. Sometimes, he was reading the paper when she sat on his knee, while the others were watching television.

When he began to touch Charlene inappropriately she was nine years old, and she did not understand the nature of what was happening. He abused her in this way for a few years. 

On one occasion at her friend’s house, Pete tried to get her to come into his bed with him. Charlene knew that this was wrong and ran out of the room. She stopped going to her friend’s house after this incident.

She explains that at first she had liked the attention Pete gave her, especially as she didn’t have a father of her own. It was not until she was older that she understood it was sexual abuse.

Charlene did not tell anyone about being abused until she was an adult and spoke with her partner.

She says she did not feel she was affected by the abuse at the time, but she speaks about becoming promiscuous. She adds that she is reluctant to let her children go on sleepovers and that she has blamed herself for not speaking out about the abuse.

Charlene works with children and young people and this made her think that she needed to talk about the sexual abuse she experienced as a child. 

Charlene recommends that younger children need to be made aware that sometimes people do something wrong because, she says if she had realised it was wrong ‘I would have maybe said’.

 

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