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Experiences Shared

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The‌ ‌Inquiry‌ ‌has‌ ‌taken‌ ‌the‌ ‌difficult decision‌‌ to‌ ‌stop‌ holding face to face Truth Project sessions‌ ‌at‌ ‌this‌ ‌time, after carefully considering the Government's guidance. Other methods of sharing are still available.


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

When Eddie was sexually abused as a young boy by a man his parents trusted, one of his main concerns was that he should not make life difficult for other people by telling anyone about it.

Eddie describes his life as a constant battle to recover from what happened to him. He was 11 years old when he joined a sports club run by Doug, a friend of his parents they assumed their son would be safe with.

The club held an event one weekend when Eddie’s family were going away. He wanted to attend, and Doug told Eddie’s mother that Eddie could stay with him.

That night Doug told Eddie that they had to share a bed and to get undressed. He then subjected him to sexual abuse. While this happened, Eddie says he remembers crying and thinking ‘don’t do this to me’. He remembers feeling scared when he woke up in the morning and thinking that he had nowhere to go.

He didn’t tell his family what happened because he didn’t want to ‘ruin life for everyone else’. He says that sexual abuse wasn’t talked about in those days, but he thinks his parents and other adults would have killed Doug if they had known.

Doug put Eddie in a position of trust in the club which meant Eddie had to attend meetings that Doug held at his flat. When Eddie didn’t go, Doug told his mother he hadn’t turned up. After that Eddie had to attend the ‘meetings’, during which Doug continued to sexually abuse him. This continued for more than three years.

Eddie suspects he wasn’t the only boy sexually abused by Doug. There was often another child knocking on the door and on one occasion Eddie went to Doug’s flat and one of his friends was in the bedroom. Doug asked if Eddie wanted to join them. Eddie left the flat, never went back and never spoke to his friend again.

After the sexual abuse Eddie recalls that he didn’t care about himself or anything else and says he went off the rails. He was expelled from school and took an overdose as a ‘cry for help’. Eventually he told his mother, who was very upset, but his disclosure brought them closer together. He has still never told his father.

At some point during the sexual abuse, Eddie remembers telling a leader and another person at a youth club about it, but no one did anything. He feels that Doug surrounded himself with people in authority to protect himself.

The sexual abuse has had a devastating and lasting effect on his life. When in a room with other men he often feels nervous, and he finds the physical side of relationships very difficult.

Talking about the sexual abuse makes him feel he is back in the room with Doug, he says. It still feels ‘so raw’ and it is a constant battle going through recovery and talking about it, having not told anyone for most of his life.

Eddie feels it is essential to recognise that having to recount what happened to them is very difficult for people who have experienced sexual abuse. He emphasised the importance of providing good support services for those who have been sexually abused. Eddie would like to see in the future a dedicated person to report abuse to without there being any repercussions.

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