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Experiences Shared

Halle

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Halle loved music as a child, but her parents could not afford lessons for her. She was thrilled when a music teacher offered her free tuition. 

This man turned out to be a sexual abuser, but as an adult, Halle applies her traumatic experiences to make a difference in her career.

Mr A and his wife moved to Halle’s neighbourhood when she was seven years old. She says she can’t remember his face properly, but recalls an image of him wearing shorts, standing at the garden gate talking to her parents.  

The music lessons took place upstairs in the front bedroom of Mr A’s house. Halle says ‘things were fine to start with, then slowly started to change’.  He started showing her photos of other kids he taught and would move closer to her and touch her.  

She remembers that even though she was young, she ‘knew it wasn’t right’, but Mr A told her she mustn't tell anyone, or her parents would be ‘disappointed’. 

Mr A carried out some of the sexual touching on the pretext of positioning her to play musical instruments. He insisted that she wore a skirt to his lessons and became angry on one occasion when she didn’t. 

The teacher manipulated Halle using different tactics. He showed her pornography, saying ‘this is what big girls do’. She says she didn’t realise what this was until she was older, but she remembers feeling powerless as he was the teacher. 

She relates that she once took her older sibling along to a lesson, thinking that Mr A would not touch them, but he sent her sibling home and proceeded to sexually abuse Halle again.

Halle says that Mr A’s wife was always downstairs and she never came into the bedroom during lessons. Halle wonders if she knew what was happening.

The abuse continued for a few months. On the last occasion, Mr A tried to rape Halle and she refused to go back for any more music lessons. She says he had ‘crossed a line’ for her and made her very scared. She says that her parents were hurt that she was giving up the opportunity to play music, and that in her head, this was her ‘punishment’.

In her distress, Halle hid from her family and then told her sister what had happened. Her sister told her mother, and she thinks they both believed her. She also thinks her father was told, but he never acknowledged it.

Some time later, Mr A was prosecuted for sexually abusing another child. Halle was asked if he had abused her, but she denied it as it was still so strongly impressed on her that Mr A had told her not to tell.  He was found not guilty and Halle remembers feeling this showed that no one believes children. 

However, she feels that her experience has made her seek out the positives in life and she seeks to help others in her chosen career.

She feels strongly that when victims and survivors of child abuse are interviewed, the investigator should made an effort to see things from a child’s perspective. She hopes that something good may come from her sharing her experience.

 

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