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Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Martin was abused as a teenager by someone in a position of trust at his family’s church. He recalls it happening on only one occasion, but it has had a significant effect on his life. 

His parents did not find it unusual that Martin was visiting the perpetrator’s house, where the abuse happened. He did not tell anyone about the abuse at the time because he did not know who to tell, nor did he understand what has happening to him.

He says ‘It is very difficult when someone you trust does something that you do not understand’.

After the abuse happened, Martin started to withdraw emotionally as well as physically. He left the clubs that he belonged to, especially those linked to the church, because he did not want to be near the person who abused him.

He describes now finding social situations difficult because he finds it hard to trust people. He has a few close friends, but says he expects things ‘not to go right’ in his life, and not ‘to be wanted’.

Despite the difficult times in his life, Martin has found ways of coping and that instead of ‘heading towards the cliff edge’, he says, ‘I have managed to pull myself out of it’.  At one stage he recognised that he was at a very low point and was determined to do something about it.

A support service working with survivors of non-recent abuse has helped and he says he now feels he can focus on what he wants to do now. He does not want what happened to him to dominate his life.

Martin has still not mentioned the abuse to his family and is afraid of their reaction. He fears that if he tells them, they will no longer speak to him.

It is only in recent years that memories of the abuse have come back to Martin. He decided to contact the Truth Project because the person who abused him was someone on the periphery of an organisation. He feels that often only those directly employed by the church or other institutions are subject to proper vetting and scrutiny and he does not want this type of abuser to ‘slide under the radar’.

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