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Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Lois was adopted in the early 1970s. She did not have a happy childhood with her adoptive parents.  

When she was in her early teens a music teacher who was trusted by her parents took advantage of her vulnerability and started a sexual relationship with her. 

Lois describes her upbringing as ‘dysfunctional’. She and her older sibling were adopted from different families and she says their adoptive father was ‘useless’ and their new mother showed them little affection. 

The family’s social life revolved around the church and her parents were friends with the choirmaster, Freddie. 

Lois first met Freddie when she was about seven years old. He taught her music at her school, and she also had private lessons with him at home. 

It was during one of these lessons, when she was in her early teens, that Freddie began to sexually abuse her. At first he kissed her, and she remembers that ‘it felt like an extraordinary moment’ and made her feel ‘noticed, appreciated and loved’. 

The ‘relationship’ continued for 10 months with sexual abuse that included oral sex. On one occasion when Lois went to stay with a relative some distance away from home, Freddie followed her there.  

Some time later, Lois started seeing a boy at school who was her own age. One day when she was with him, Freddie turned up and threatened to kill himself. Shortly after this, Freddie was confronted by Lois’ adoptive father, and her music lessons were stopped from that night.

Lois was also sexually abused by her adopted brother when she was in her mid teens. This happened a couple of times and Lois explains it by saying that it was exploratory as her brother hadn’t had a girlfriend before.

She describes how the sexual abuse she experienced as a young girl has affected her. She has experienced anxiety and depression and has abused alcohol. She became promiscuous and had difficulties with relationships, finding it impossible to be faithful to any partner before she met her husband. They now attend therapy together to help them manage her past.

Lois would like teachers to be more vigilant for the signs of abuse. She wonders why no one at school asked why she suddenly stopped studying music only one month into an important exam course.

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