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Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

When Ruth visited her grandfather in a nursing home, memories of child sexual abuse began coming back to her.

She spent most of her school holidays in her grandparents’ house and recalls this was where her grandfather started sexually abusing her.

Later he took her to a place that she describes as like a ‘gentleman's club’. Here she saw other older men with young girls and she believes her grandfather was part of a paedophile ring. The abuse stopped when she was a teenager.

Ruth thinks the early abuse in her grandfather's house would have left physical evidence which would have been visible to others, including her grandmother, but nothing was done about it.

She says the abuse caused her to do ‘stupid things’, such as self-harming and vandalism. She feels these should have been seen as signs that all was not well, but no one questioned the reasons for her behaviour.

When Ruth first began experiencing flashbacks of the abuse, she says she could not function, but with support from her family, she managed to stay out of hospital.

She contacted the police who arranged a meeting in a police station. She describes this as a very formal interview with lots of repeated questions. She has since heard that the police investigated the case but were unable to take it forward.

Ruth explains she is now recovering from years of substance misuse. For a long time, she had not understood why she was misusing substances but, as the memories of abuse started to surface, the reasons became clear to her.

She has a very supportive family and says this has helped her a great deal to move forward with her life.

She says that when she saw her grandfather for the last time, she felt she wanted to kill him. She went into the garden of the nursing home and cried about all the memories that were flooding back.

Ruth wants children to be made aware that they should tell someone if they are touched in a certain way.

Other than that, she is not looking for any particular outcome from sharing her experience, except to say that she wants to make it known that her grandfather was not the upstanding member of the community he appeared to be.

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