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Experiences Shared

Roisin

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Roisin was vulnerable and isolated when she was a child.

A teacher singled Roisin out to groom and sexually abuse her. She now realises she had been brainwashed into believing it was a love affair.

Roisin explains that her parents were not always present in her life. Her mother worked a lot, and her father had problems with his physical health, as well as depression. 

She suffered from anxiety and was isolated due to bullying. She says she didn’t talk to anyone about this, and became ‘a reclusive quiet girl’.

When she was in her early teens, a male teacher at her secondary school, Mr A, began showing an interest in her. He would write her notes and he remembered her birthday. 

She says it was a ‘slow measured process of indoctrination’ and, she adds, ‘the way he sold it to me was that I was the love of his life’. Mr A was nearly 20 years older than Roisin.

The teacher began to sexually abuse Roisin on school premises, in his house, and on other occasions on days out. He sometimes put her in the boot of his car to smuggle her to different places so he could abuse her. She remembers feeling that the attention he gave her filled the void that she was missing from her parents, family and friends.

When Roisin was in her mid teens, her dad found the letters that Mr A had written to her. He contacted the police who interviewed Roisin. At the time, she says, she could not bring herself to disclose what the teacher was doing.

Looking back, Roisin says Mr A had brainwashed her so effectively that she would not have told anyone about the abuse. He had impressed on her how crucial it was to be able to lie. 

Because she would not tell the police, they could not take the matter further. They did speak to the school about the letters and his behaviour and Roisin says he either resigned or was dismissed from his teaching post.

However, Roisin’s ‘relationship’ continued with Mr A. He manipulated her to turn her against her family and she became increasingly isolated from them, and particularly hostile towards her dad.

When Roisin was 18 she got a boyfriend. But, she says, Mr A continued to write her letters and still had power and influence over her for the next couple of years, even though he got married and she went off to university. 

Roisin has struggled with depression, shame and guilt, particularly about lying to her parents and how this affected their relationship. 

She believes that more research should be carried out in the behaviour of sexual abusers to help protect people. She would also like to see more education in schools to help children understand what is ‘wrong behaviour’.

When Roisin realised the effects that the sexual abuse have had on her life, she spoke to her GP and had counselling. But she admits that, decades later, it continues to prey on her mind.

She says ‘He dazzled me; it was so extreme it was like I was on drugs … I was addicted’.

 

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