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Experiences Shared

These are some of the experiences of child sexual abuse shared with the Truth Project by victims and survivors. All names and identifying details have been changed.

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Otto says it feels strange to report abuse from decades ago … ‘it feels like you should be ok now’

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Otto was raped and sexually abused by his father for five years. 

He was seen by medical professionals but, he says, the culture of the 1960s was ‘somehow tolerant of abuse’ and no one helped him.

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Hugh’s abusers told him ‘You can’t say anything, I have tremendous influence’

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Hugh describes highly organised sexual abuse at the approved school he attended, involving staff and others from outside the institution, some of whom may have been in positions of senior authority.

He describes himself as a very bright child who was also ‘troublesome’. At the age of about 10, he appeared in juvenile court and was sent to an approved school.

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Florence’s father was convicted of child sexual abuse, but no one asked if he had abused her

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Florence’s father sexually abused her when she was a very young child. 

He was imprisoned for abusing her step-siblings but then allowed to return home, where he continued abusing Florence for several more years.

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Di-Anne feels strongly that improvements are needed in mental health services for abuse survivors

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Di-Anne’s childhood experiences of abuse and trauma have left her with lasting mental health issues.

She feels that many professionals have no understanding of the effects of abuse.

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Albert says ‘I’ve tried to act as normal as possible. That may have been a mistake’

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Albert’s parents, who were very religious, sent him to a religious junior and secondary school because they wanted him to have a stable education. 

He describes a terrible culture of violence. Some of the church staff and brothers inflicted physical punishment and abuse on children, including some particularly vulnerable young boys.

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Diya says ‘It’s taken me years to understand I didn’t do anything wrong’

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From the age of nine, Diya was sexually abused by her stepfather.

She says the culture in her community means that victims of sexual abuse are blamed, and she has fought hard to overcome the effect this had on her.

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Fernando can’t understand why his parents did not question the inappropriate behaviour of his tutor

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Fernando was emotionally neglected by his parents, who he describes as ‘self-centred and careless’.

They did not question why his private tutor spent a lot of time alone with their son, and took him away on holiday.

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Home was not a safe haven for Lynne, but a place where she was regularly abused by her own father

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Lynne grew up in a military family, and regular house moves added to her sense of insecurity. She is now a campaigner for survivors of child sexual abuse.

Her father began to sexually abuse Lynne, the oldest of three children, before she was school age. This continued until she was in her mid-teens. She says her mother was aware of the abuse but did nothing to stop it. ‘She was a very weak woman’, says Lynne, ‘a victim too, in a way’. 

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Mivann says improvements to child protection may cost ‘but if children are unhappy it costs society later’

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After his parents divorced Mivann went to live with relatives. But one of his guardians died, and other relatives in the house were abusing alcohol, so he was taken into care at the age of nine.

For five years he endured sexual abuse and extreme cruelty in two different children's homes. 

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Adelyn was publicly shamed by Jehovah’s Witness elders because an adult sexually abused her

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Adelyn was brought up in the Jehovah’s Witness church. 

She was sexually abused by two men in the church, but the elders pronounced that she was the ‘sinner’.

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A television interview with a survivor of sexual abuse triggered distressing memories for Chester

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Chester was sexually abused when he was 11, by a Scout leader. 

He buried memories of the abuse for more than 30 years and spoke about it in detail for the first time when he came to the Truth Project.

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Griffin says the sexual abuse he suffered in a children’s home was ‘part of everyday life’

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Griffin and his siblings were neglected by their parents, and were all taken into care when he was a toddler.

He was sexually abused from the age of seven by an older resident in a children’s home. The police later said it was consensual sex.

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