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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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Susan feigned symptoms so she could stay in hospital and escape sexual abuse at home

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Susan describes growing up in a ‘dysfunctional family’, where it was common for family members to put each other down and swear at one another. The relationship between her parents was extremely violent and the police were frequently called to deal with incidents between them.

As a little girl, she adored her brother, but he began sexually abusing her, and she still suffers the lasting effects of this trauma.

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Nigel is haunted by the injustice of a conviction for buggery when he was sexually abused at age 14

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Nigel describes how he was the victim of child sexual abuse and of a gross miscarriage of justice.

For six decades, he has had to live with the practical consequences of this, and a severe sense of anger, distress and injustice.

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Richard says that children should not be sent to boarding schools

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Richard was sent to a boarding school where sexual abuse was perpetrated by staff and pupils. He feels strongly that parents should protect their children from potentially abusive environments.

When Richard was a young child, his parents divorced, and he and his mother moved to another area. Life was not easy for them, and social services became involved.

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Abduction and abuse by a stranger made Ronnie vulnerable to further ill-treatment

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As a young boy, Ronnie was kidnapped by a stranger who dragged him into a derelict building and abused him, then gave Ronnie money to buy sweets and left.

This incident sent Ronnie’s behaviour into a downward spiral. He began truanting committing petty crimes, which resulted in him being placed in a children’s custodial institution, where he remained for several years. 

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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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Joseph’s pain is made worse by feeling he could have prevented other children being abused in the Scouts

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Joseph tells of the continuing anguish he feels as a result of being abused by his scoutmaster, Seth. The abuse occurred on a weekly basis when he was in the Scouts and he now knows that Seth was abusing other children, although he did not know this at the time.

Another person who was abused by Seth made a complaint about him. When Joseph saw this information in the press, he came forward, as did other victims and survivors.

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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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When Jack-Bob asked years later if he should report the abuse, a teacher replied ‘What’s the point?’

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Jack-Bob was a boarder at a school in England in the 1970s. He was subjected to a ‘sophisticated grooming process’ by his abuser, who was a teacher at the school. 

He says he looked mature for his age and believes that may be why his abuser targeted him. The grooming went on for about three years before the abuse began and involved exposure to magazines and books with a sexual content. The abuser would leave this sort of material in classrooms. The magazines could not necessarily be considered ‘top shelf’ but they were certainly not meant to be seen by children. One of the books had explicit pictures and his abuser would leave them in classrooms that were accessible by pupils.

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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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The priest who abused Greg groomed his family first, and then fought the civil case he eventually brought

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Greg came from a very ‘church going’ background. His family moved to a new house in a small town and became involved with the clergy at the church.

When a new priest, Ken, joined their church, Greg's parents took him under their wing. Ken was a regular visitor and often ate with the family.

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Sexual abuse and indoctrination by Mormon church members caused Jade’s PTSD

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Jade was brought up as a Mormon. She was sexually abused by male members of the church and by her mother and stepfather.

She was also subjected to emotional abuse by church members who asked her embarrassing and intimidating questions and pressurised her when she was pregnant.

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Sharon said ‘I am still alive, I came to the Truth Project because I could have been dead’

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Sharon describes her childhood as lonely, growing up in a family where her father sexually abused her, and her mother was frequently under the influence of alcohol and prescription medication.

She describes the humiliation of experiencing bowel difficulties in the school classroom as a result of the sexual abuse. She remembers realising that other girls at school did not have to do to their fathers what she had to, and that their fathers did not do the things to them that her father did to her.

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