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Experiences Shared

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

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Clive’s life was badly affected after being sexually abused by a stranger in the public toilets

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Sexually abused by a stranger when he was a small boy, Clive has struggled with the psychological and emotional effects ever since.

Clive really wants people to understand that for those who have been sexually abused: ‘It doesn’t need to be stigmatised as some sort of disability, but it does need to be recognised that this will have a lifelong impact.’

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Groomed and sexually abused in the cadets, Sonny felt trapped and alone

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Looking back on his early years, Sonny can see that he was a vulnerable child. His mother was an alcoholic and had mental health issues, he regularly witnessed domestic violence and received no parenting.

At the age of 13 years he joined the cadets and would train with them regularly. An ex-serviceman called Logan would hang around outside the cadet building and talk to some of the boys and the cadet trainers. He began giving some of the boys lifts home.

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Angie says ‘I used to bite myself, throw myself downstairs, pull chunks of my hair out’

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Angie’s early experiences of an unstable family life included living abroad, divorce of her parents, hospitalisation of her mother and harsh treatment by her stepmother. These made her vulnerable to a series of incidents of sexual abuse that continued into her adulthood.

On the point of committing suicide, she pulled back, and now continues to work on her recovery with the support of her husband.

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Samson’s experiences have made him very cautious about where his children are and who they are with

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Samson was abused by a man called Mick who made friends with his family and won their trust by taking Samson and a friend to the park.

But these outings that the boys enjoyed turned out to be a grooming exercise so that Mick could abuse them.

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Ian was abused and threatened by a teacher in a church school, but felt the ‘sin’ was his

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Several decades ago, Ian attended a Catholic grammar school and for the first few years, he enjoyed it. Then a new teacher arrived, whose abusive behaviour had a ruinous effect on Ian’s life.

The young teacher, Jim, quickly singled Ian out and offered him extra tuition at home. He persuaded Ian’s mother that because the family home was noisy, it would be better to work in Ian’s bedroom.

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The headmaster who sexually abused Tim was moved to other schools and evidence was destroyed by the church

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Tim recalls how pleased he and his family were when he was allocated a place at the local church school. He says the headmaster ‘took a shine’ to him – he chose Tim to join the school choir and often called him to his office to read aloud and take tests.

But it was not long before the nature of these sessions changed. While Tim was reading, the headmaster began touching him inappropriately, before sending him back to class. Tim did not understand what was going on.

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Kieran believes that police forces should be better trained to deal with non-recent sexual abuse cases

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Kieran has early memories of a good family life, but after the death of his father he endured abuse and violence.

A few years after Kieran’s father died, his mother met a new partner who moved into the family home with his two sons, Lewis and Carl. They were in their late teens and had been in trouble with the authorities.

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Ryan is angrier with the lack of care from boarding school than with his abuser, who was another student

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Ryan went to a boarding school, which was elitist and very sport oriented. But, he says, he did not excel at sport; he was a timid child who was always the last one chosen for the teams, and he was bullied at this school.

Ryan recalls how one day he went for a run and when he came back to his dormitory one of the slightly older pupils, a captain of several of the school teams, sat on top of him and started playing with him. He was around 16 at the time.

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Kirsty was sexually abused in care and says care leavers need more support

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Kirsty experienced violence and deprivation at home with her mother. She says that during her time in care, the kindness of one key worker provided her with some of the happiest memories she has of her childhood. However, she was sexually abused by two workers in children’s homes and this experience inflicted lasting pain and damage on her.

Most of her young life, along with that of her siblings, was spent in and out of a children’s home. Kirsty had a very close relationship with her housemother, who she says was like a mother to her. But an assistant housemother, Mrs Pottering, sexually abused Kirsty during her bath times.

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Jonathan feels he disassociated his current life from his childhood

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Jonathan’s parents lived abroad, and he was sent to boarding school from a young age. There, he was abused on three occasions by Lawrence, who worked at the school as a cricket coach.

Although he says therapy is having a positive effect, it has taken him many years to find the courage to seek help.

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Ruth’s grandfather ‘was not the upstanding member of the community he appeared to be’

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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.

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Fin was sexually abused as a boy sailor in the Navy in the 1950s

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Fin says that until the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal emerged, he felt he had put the events that happened to him as a teenager ‘more or less to bed’, but now describes how being sexually abused has had a lasting effect on him.

He joined the navy in the 1950s as a boy sailor. The officer in charge of the sailing school praised his talent and put him in a position of responsibility.

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