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Experiences Shared

Eboney

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Eboney was sexually abused by another young child.

This has been dismissed by some family members as ‘kids messing around’, but the abuse has had a lasting impact on many aspects of her life.

Eboney grew up with her mum and dad. He had a daughter from another relationship who was four years older than Eboney. 

At weekends, Eboney’s half-sister came to stay with the family. Eboney loved her and these visits became Eboney’s favourite part of the week. 

But when Eboney was about four years old, the four of them went on a caravan holiday. The girls shared a room and one night Eboney’s half-sister performed oral sex on Eboney and encouraged her to reciprocate. 

Eboney remembers her mother walking in and seeing what was happening. She recalls feeling flustered, but her mother just left the room. 

From then on, her half-sister continued to abuse Eboney at weekends. She told the younger girl it was a secret and she must not tell anyone. The abuse continued on a weekly basis until the older girl was about 12 and Eboney was about eight or nine. At this point the family moved to a different area of the country.

Eboney also remembers her half-sister telling her distorted things about sex, using offensive words, such as ‘slag’. This made her feel dirty. She adds that it was not until she was in her mid teens that she realised that what had happened with her half-sister had been wrong. 

A few years later, Eboney told her parents about the sexual abuse. She regards her relationship with both of them as distant and says neither of them knew how to respond. 

Her half-sister denied the abuse when they confronted her about it, and both her parents have explained it away as children ‘messing about’ or ‘what girls do’. 

Eboney finds it hard to come to terms with their response.

Eboney accepts that her half-sister may not have realised what she did was wrong, but now she does not want to have anything to do with her. 

She has been affected by being sexually abused as a child, and when she reached puberty in her early teens she became promiscuous and took risks with her safety. Later, she was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and was referred to mental health services. 

Eboney finds it difficult to form relationships and prefers being on her own. Her perceptions of sex are ‘messed up’ and she is obsessed with the idea that children she cares about may be abused. 

As an adult, Eboney has been raped. She believes it is possible that child sexual abuse could trigger high-risk behaviour, but emphasises that does not excuse the men who attacked her. 

She would like to see improved awareness and education to enable adults to see beyond stereotypes and be alert to the signs of child sexual abuse.

Despite her difficulties, Eboney feels that she has done well. She has completed a degree course and plans to continue with further studies.  

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