Quick Exit

Experiences Shared

Lisa

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

The man who abused Lisa did not work in the school she attended but ‘infiltrated himself’ into her family. She says he was a popular and clever man who everyone liked and respected. He organised a lot of day trips and activities at school and also for Lisa. 

The sexual abuse started when she was a young teenager and continued until she was in her late teens. Lisa feels that this a very confusing time for her as the abuse was wrapped up in the adventure of the day trips and activities and she did enjoy the attention she received from her abuser. Lisa says she even thought for a brief time that she was his girlfriend. 

She says she does not want to feel the abuse has had a big impact on her life, but she knows it has. She says that she has made the decision to be on her own after having children, as it was just ‘too difficult’. She also feels sad that the abuse has had a direct impact on her children too, as they are no longer in a ‘usual family’.

Lisa did tell her father about the abuse that happened to her. He was shocked, but he believed her instantly and she says this was the ‘greatest gift’ he could have given her.

When Lisa and her partner were having difficulties in their marriage, Lisa saw a counsellor and shared what had happened to her as a child. At the counsellor’s suggestion, she spoke to a solicitor. She also told a family member what had happened to her. The family member did not say so at the time, but later he told Lisa they had also been sexually abused by the same man. Lisa was shocked, as she and the family member were very close. She says ‘It was all so secretive, so cunning’.

At the time Lisa decided not to pursue the case. She was concerned she might be responsible for someone going to prison, although she says now she knows that she would not have held that responsibility. However, she was aware that her abuser was still a teacher and she and another family member went to see the school where he was teaching the school. She felt dismissed by the school whose initial response was that ‘everyone loves’ the teacher. Lisa does not know what the school did with the information.

Some years later, Lisa decided that she would report the abuse to the police but has not had a satisfactory experience. The police arranged for her to be interviewed and make a statement. The interview was cancelled and rearranged, at which point she was told she would need to come back to read and sign her statement. When she returned to the police station, she was handed her statement to read in the main waiting area. When she asked for privacy, she was offered a seat behind the counter, then sent to the officers’ kitchen.

Some of Lisa’s family members were interviewed by the police and they provided names of other young people they suspected may have been sexually abused by the teacher. The police did interview the teacher and a case was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service but there was deemed to be insufficient evidence to pursue it. Lisa was assured that the allegation would remain on her abuser’s record.

She decided to contact the police again, and provided more information. She went to the police station and handed in another statement that she had drafted herself. There was no one talk to and Lisa feels that there should be someone trained to work specifically in this area to support victims and survivors with reporting. 

Lisa found out from the internet that the person who abused her was due to stand trial. Lisa contacted the police immediately and asked why they not told her that this was happening. She was told by an officer that she was ‘not in a position to share’. Lisa told the police that she would be prepared to give evidence at her abuser’s trial, but had not been told whether would be called, despite the trial date being a few weeks away.

At the time Lisa attended the Truth Project, she was still waiting for resolution.

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There are very limited circumstances where we tell anyone your name without your consent, for example if a child is currently at risk and we need to tell the police.