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Experiences Shared

Cindy

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Cindy was seven years old when she was sexually abused by a school caretaker. 

Even though she was a young child, she is tormented by a feeling that she ‘allowed’ him to go on abusing her.

Cindy’s mother had an evening job at the school, and Cindy went with her when she was working.  

The caretaker, Bruno, began grooming Cindy by getting her to help him with his chores, and playing games with her. 

He started taking her into the toilets and sexually abusing her. He put his fingers into her vagina and she remembers wishing it would end.  

Cindy’s memory of this time is fragmented, and she isn’t sure exactly how long the abuse went on for, but knows it happened regularly.

Eventually, Bruno was sacked; she doesn’t know why, but wonders if he was sexually abusing other people.  

Cindy says she ‘muddled through’ school, but later managed to get a degree. She always felt that ‘something wasn’t right’ and she started experiencing flashbacks. She has self-harmed, suffered with depression and struggled with addiction.

She blames herself for being sexually abused as a young child, saying she cannot understand why ‘I let him do it and kept going back’. However, she says ‘my dad was fairly volatile’. Because she did not like being alone with him and she was always anxious about leaving her mother, she carried on going to work with her. 

When Cindy told her mother about the abuse, her mother’s response was ‘That was years ago’ and she said that Cindy should ‘let it go’. This reaction has caused Cindy great hurt.

Cindy says she finds it hard to admit she was sexually abused as a child, and she wants to send a message to other children that they don’t have to hide what has happened to them if they have been sexually abused. 

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