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Experiences Shared

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Due to the current situation caused by coronavirus (Covid-19) we have made some changes to Truth Project sessions in person. You can still share your experience with the Truth Project over the phone, in writing, and now through a video call.

Ebrah

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Ebrah moved from southwestern Asia to the UK when she was a small child. 

She was sexually abused by the husband of a religious education teacher.

Ebrah remembers the shock of trying to get used to a completely different culture and language when she arrived in Britain.

Her parents sent her to a mosque for religious instruction, and also to a local teacher who taught the Qu’ran to groups of children. But this teacher often hit the young pupils, and when Ebrah’s parents found out, they sent her to another home-based religious teacher. 

Although Ebrah is not sure why she felt this at first, she remembers that she did not like going to this house, and would try and find excuses not to go.

One day during a lesson, she went to the kitchen to get some water. The teacher’s husband was there and he grabbed Ebrah, squeezed her face hard and kissed her. She was 10 years old and she says she was very petite. She remembers how frightening this old and large-set man was, and that he was very rough with her. 

Ebrah ran back into the room where her class was saying prayers. She says she must have looked shaken because her teacher asked her what was wrong. She was too scared to say exactly what had happened, but she said she didn’t want to go back into the kitchen. 

She believes from her teacher's reaction that she guessed what had happened.

Later, Ebrah discovered that the teacher's husband had done similar things to other girls, including pinching the bottom of a seven-year-old.  

She did not tell her parents about the abuse because, she says, her mother was ‘a worrier’ and she wanted to protect her. She did try to avoid going to the teacher’s home school by pretending to be ill, but her mother insisted she had to go – Ebrah thinks this was because she had already removed her from one teacher. 

Even when another girl’s mother let the community know that her daughter had been inappropriately touched by the teacher’s husband, Ebrah’s mother ignored the report. 

Ebrah has never reported the abuse to the police. She says that she feels concerned that her mother would not be able to cope with the community knowing that her daughter had been abused.

She adds that she has always felt ashamed and embarrassed that she was abused and she doesn't want this for her mother as well. 

She has a fear of older males trying to show her any affection, even her own father that she describes as ‘a wonderful man’ who loves her very much. She says it makes her feel very bad that she cannot bear physical affection from him. 

She strongly suggests that rigorous safeguarding checks should be made on all people in houses where children are being taught. She feels there is not enough regulation about this, especially in her religious community. 

Ebrah adds that she wishes that her parents had spoken to her more when she was young about what should and shouldn’t happen in other people’s houses. She believes all parents should be prepared to discuss child sexual abuse.

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