Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

Janet

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Janet says her life is ‘dysfunctional’ due to the violence and sexual abuse she experienced as a child, and feels let down by the police and social services.

When she and her brothers were very young, their parents separated. Unable to look after his children, her father asked a family member to care for them. After a few years of instability, the siblings were placed in foster care where they remained until around they were around 18 years old.

Janet and her brothers shared no love or attachment with the foster parents. Their foster father, Travis, sexually abused Janet frequently, in front of her brothers. All the children suffered from very severe beatings by Travis and were often locked in isolated parts of the house.

Janet slept in the same bed as one of her brothers and she describes how when they heard Travis coming into the room they would both pretend to be asleep, but Travis would lift her out of the bed and make her touch him sexually. When Janet got back into bed afterwards her brother would always say ‘Everything is going to be okay’.

The sexual abuse progressed to rape. The first time it happened was in her foster parents’ bed, and Janet believes her foster mother must have known what was happening. She says she became ‘conditioned’ to the abuse. She became pregnant twice by Travis but lost both babies.

After a particularly violent beating by Travis, the children’s school called social services and Janet’s brothers were removed from the foster home.

She cannot understand why social services left her in the foster home even though they knew that she was also being abused. She believes this was documented in her care file.

Janet says she later reported the sexual abuse to the police and received an unannounced visit from two male officers late one evening. She says she has since been told there was a lack of trained female officers. 

In later life, Janet married but says the impact of the abuse affected her marriage. She blamed herself for being sexually abused, she self-harmed and was drug and alcohol dependent for many years.

At one stage, she had an overwhelming feeling of having no hope and says she realised she needed to sort her life out. Part of this plan was to share her experience with the Truth Project.

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