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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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Nicholas describes how painful sexual abuse was, but ‘you didn’t say in those days’

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Nicholas was beaten and sexually abused by a sadistic teacher at a religious school.

When he told another teacher about the physical beating he suffered, he was told he must have deserved it.

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Eloise is angry that her family’s home life was disrupted because she was the victim of sexual abuse

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Eloise lived with her family in a block of flats in a large city. 

They liked their neighbourhood, but after a neighbour sexually abused her, she and her family had to leave their home.

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As a young teenager, Tabitha found it traumatic to be interviewed by the police

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Tabitha was sexually abused by her stepfather.

She feels that reporting it caused her as much distress as the abuse itself.

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Lois did not feel loved by the couple who adopted her and this was exploited by a sexual abuser

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Lois was adopted in the early 1970s. She did not have a happy childhood with her adoptive parents.  

When she was in her early teens a music teacher who was trusted by her parents took advantage of her vulnerability and started a sexual relationship with her. 

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Isobel would like to see a victim-centred justice system that triggers specialist mental health support

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Isobel was one of five children in a family that never had enough money. She describes her childhood as ‘hard’. As she was mature for her age, she took on a helping role alongside her mother. She found school difficult and felt ‘isolated and lost’ there.

One of the teachers, Mr Smith, ran a club that her siblings attended, and he suggested she join too. He organised outward bound trips for the club; Isobel was always given her own tent and it was on one of these outings that he began to sexually abuse her. She reflects that not only did he groom her but also her family, as her mother probably welcomed another adult taking her children on holidays when she could not afford to. 

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Two institutions failed to take action against the man who sexually abused Issac

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Issac was sexually abused by a leader in the Salvation Army. 

He decided to share a written account of his experience with the Truth Project because he wants to contribute to the conversation about child sexual abuse.

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Justin thinks that religion is a factor in sexual abuse

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Justin grew up in a large Christian family. His parents had to work long hours to support the family, and he recalls that his father did not seem to be around very much when he was younger.

He and his brothers attended a Catholic school. When Justin was eight years old, a sports teacher began to abuse him. He is now aware that this teacher also abused his two brothers but did not know this at the time.

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Angus felt safer in a police cell than at home

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Given up by his family at a young age, Angus was left at the mercy of abusive carers. His childhood was so troubled as a result that he describes how being in a police cell felt safer than being at home.

Angus says that when his mother asked for him to be placed for adoption, his father, who was in the forces, agreed this was in his best interests. He comments: ‘It wrecked my life, being rejected by my own family.’

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As a child migrant, Dermot was sent across the world to a place where ‘nowhere was safe’

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Dermot was shipped overseas with two of his brothers as child migrants in the early 1950s. He was six years old when he was sent to a completely alien environment, thousands of miles from home. They had been sent overseas after a complaint about the noise and boisterousness of the children at home and they were then assessed by an organisation responsible for child migration.

He tells a harrowing story of cruelty and abuse. He has used the anger he feels about his experiences to address the issue of redress for child migrants.

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Camila finds it hard to live with the fact that the church chose to protect itself and its reputation

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Camila was sexually abused by a prominent member of her church. She says that when she reported the abuse, ‘They tried to make me feel that it was all in my imagination’. 

Camila explains that going to church was a key element of her life when she was growing up. The man who abused her was connected to her family and was held in high esteem by them and their church.

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The man who raped Sally when she was a teenage girl continued to intimidate her with mockery

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Sally was raped as a teenager and feels that a teacher in her school was complicit in this crime.

The rapist was a friend of the teacher, and also worked at the school. Sally says her abuser bought presents for her and the teacher encouraged her to meet him. At the time, she did not know about grooming.

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No one had ever looked at Tamara, or talked to her, the way her abuser did

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Tamara’s mum suffered with mental health difficulties and was in constant fear of ending up in a mental health hospital. This meant that the mother and daughter roles were reversed.

A man groomed her with flattery and attention, then sexually and verbally abused her. She blamed herself for what happened.

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