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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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April only spoke out about being abused because she feared for her mother’s safety

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The man who abused April ‘weaseled his way into my family, and it took me seven years to speak’.

She now works with children who are the same age she was when her stepfather started sexually abusing her. She says, ‘I am constantly thinking that was me’.

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Rosie was abused by a man who told her parents he could help with her career

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Rosie loved performing arts as a teenager and wanted to be a dancer.

A man who claimed to have showbusiness connections claimed that he could help her with this ambition.

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Deidra’s mother asked her if she had ‘encouraged’ her stepfather to sexually abuse her

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Deidra describes growing up with her younger sibling in an unstable family where domestic violence was a frequent occurrence. 

Her mother’s new husband sexually and emotionally abused Deidra. He was sent to prison and is now an old man, but she worries constantly that he may be free.

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Dougal became a drug addict after he was sexually abused, but says he is doing well with his recovery

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Dougal opted to go into care permanently when he was 13 because he thought he would be safer there than in his family home. 

But in different children’s homes, he was physically abused by staff and sexually abused by an older boy.

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All Alina wants is an apology from the church, but after 10 years she still hasn’t had one

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Alina has lived for many years with the effects of being sexually abused as a child by a Catholic priest.

She is also concerned about the way she was treated by the church when she reported the abuse.

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Nora believes that Jehovah’s Witness children are vulnerable because of the nature of the religion

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Nora was brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness. She was unofficially fostered by a member of the church, who sexually abused her over 10 years. 

She gives a powerful written account of her ordeal, and the control the church exerts over children.

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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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Elisha says she didn’t finish her schooling and became promiscuous after she was abused

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Elisha grew up in an urban community where children played out together. She was sexually abused by some teenage boys.

Elisha describes her upbringing in the 1980s in a large city, where parents in the surrounding streets let their children play outside and go to the park together.

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Dewi says ‘It’s time I got rid of this burden’

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It is more than 50 years since Dewi was sexually abused by a priest.

The sight of Catholic churches and clergy still makes him feel angry.

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Eileen cannot recall any happy memories from her childhood

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Eileen and her sister were subjected to sexual abuse from her brothers and father, who was also a heavy drinker with a violent temper that he took out on all the children and his wife. 

This abuse began when Eileen was six or seven years old and continued until she was 15 or 16, when both brothers were married and left home.

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Victor says ‘I asked myself, who’d believe you?’ and kept silent about being sexually abused in custody

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Victor had a troubled home life that led to him receiving custodial sentences – the first when he was a young teenager.

He was repeatedly physically and sexually abused in two institutions by the same person in authority, who also stalked him and abused him again after he was released.

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Nala says ‘I never ate properly, I never had a childhood … no one ever read me a bedtime story

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Nala’s stepfather sexually abused her, and he and her mother were sent to prison for violently assaulting her.

Over the following seven years, she was sent to 13 different care placements. She suffered further abuse in many of them. 

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