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Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Teagan was sexually abused by her brother and his friend, who were six years older than her. The teenage boys also abused some of her friends.

The abuse began when she was nine years old and continued through her childhood. It has caused lasting damage to her family relationships and her mental health.

Teagan and her friends were often left at home in the care of her brother Gus. He would show them pornography and sexually graphic computer games. He and his friend Toby sexually assaulted Teagan and made her touch them. 

She describes how confusing she found the behaviour of the older boys. They would turn the sexual abuse of her and her friends into games of ‘dares’. She remembers that the younger girls knew that what was happening must be kept a secret but they ‘didn’t know how bad it was’. She even thought that Toby was her ‘older boyfriend’. 

Gus would talk about sex to Teagan and her friends, give them alcohol and take them to the park at night. By this time the girls were 10 years old and Gus was working. She was often late or absent from school but no one asked why. 

When she was in her early teens, Teagan had sex with a boyfriend. She says that she did not understand how significant this was because she had been sexually abused for the previous few years. She adds that she felt that she had no self-worth and she still feels this way today. 

Teagan says that when she was younger, she had tried telling her mother about her brother’s behaviour towards her friends, but her mother’s response was to shout at her, and she took no action.

But when Teagan was in her mid teens, she ‘blurted everything out’ to her mother and stepfather about Gus and Toby’s sexual abuse. This time her parents informed the police who took two statements from her.

The case against Gus and Toby took some time to come to court during which time Gus was allowed to continue babysitting Teagan’s younger sister. She feels her mother was in denial. During this time, Gus threatened her.

Gus and Toby received sentences that Teagan felt were so lenient, it was ‘like a kick in the teeth’.

She feels the abuse has ‘really messed up’ her life. She suffers from depression and anxiety, has self-harmed and has suicidal thoughts. She is estranged from her family but has support from her partner’s family.

She makes several recommendations that she feels could help protect children from sexual abuse, including being vigilant about over-sexualised behaviour, making support available to victims and survivors when they report abuse and recognising the effect that sexual abuse has on mental health. 

Teagan is now pursuing further education and developing her career.

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