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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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Miley says she was happy in care because she had clothes and was allowed to play

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Miley was fostered when she was a small child as both her parents had been in prison, but she was returned to them.

She was physically and emotionally abused by her mother every day and sexually abused by her father from the age of nine.

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Ray struggles to cope with flashbacks of sexual abuse

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Ray describes having had a difficult life. He has had to cope with mental health issues which have continued since childhood.

In recent years, he was visited by a friend who mentioned their time together in the Cub Scouts. This triggered flashback episodes for Ray, with fragmented memories of sexual abuse.

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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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A trusted family member raped Megan when she was seven years old

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Megan describes her childhood as ‘rich’, although the family was financially poor. Both her parents worked long shifts and they arranged for her uncle, Daniel, to care for her and her sister while they were working.

This arrangement resulted in a serious sexual attack on Megan that has had devastating consequences on her life.

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Zoe’s caring responsibilities and erratic family life left her open to grooming by older men

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From a young age Zoe took on caring responsibilities beyond her years. With a school and family life that was erratic at times, she was left vulnerable to grooming by older men.

Zoe’s father had mental health issues. Her mother struggled to cope with the changes in her relationship with her husband and began to use alcohol. Zoe remembers feeling the need to protect her parents. She had a sibling, but she says they preferred to ‘do their own thing and didn’t take on caring responsibilities’. Zoe feels she did not have much support – although services were working with her father there was no provision for the rest of the family. Other than an older relative, Zoe had no one she felt able to talk to.

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Natasha says ‘Abusers can be anybody. Mine was a babysitter and a man I called uncle’

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Nathasha’s father was an alcoholic and during her childhood and adolescence she was concerned for her mother. 

When her mother went on her weekly night out, the older girls who babysat for Natasha sexually abused her. A few years later, an older male neighbour did the same. Natasha did not tell her mother until many years later.

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Dominic says ‘I am here for my brother… I want my brother to not be known as a liar’

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Dominic grew up in the 1960s and 70s. He was one of five children in what he describes as ‘a very, very poor family’.

His family was befriended by a man, Gil, who was a senior leader in a local Red Cross youth group. Dominic says ‘He wheedled himself into our family life like a friend’. 

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Marcus feels the Scouts turned a blind eye to his sexual abuse in the 1960s and 70s

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Marcus was sexually abused during the 1960s and 70s by men from his local Scout Association and the church.

His quest for acknowledgment, an apology and recompense has been impeded by the length of time it took him to report the sexual abuse. He points out: ‘It is very difficult to actually complain about something you didn’t really recognise was going on.’

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Kevin says ‘I didn’t always know the words for what was happening to me’

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It was only when Kevin heard a radio programme about sexual abuse that he really understood what had happened to him as a child. The difficulty for him when he was young, he says, is that ‘I didn’t always know the words for what was happening to me.’

Following his parents’ divorce, Kevin and his mother lived with relatives for a short time. He says it was a relief when they left there, as his uncle had been sexually abusing him.

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Next to sexual abuse, Jim says ‘being in court was the worst thing I have ever been through’

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Such is the lasting damage inflicted on Jim by a rapist and other abusers that, he says: ‘I have the choice to live with what goes on in my head, or to kill myself.’

Jim wants the Inquiry to push for more and better training of professionals involved with child sex abuse.

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Benicio-Dwayne says ‘A care order should mean just that – that care is given and that children are supported’

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Benicio-Dwayne grew up with a brother and a sister, but he does not recall much about them.

What he does remember of his family life is neglect, and physical and emotional abuse from his violent and unpredictable parents. And when he was placed with a foster family, he suffered sexual abuse.

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Yvonne says ‘I now realise it wasn’t my fault, I wasn’t to blame, I couldn’t have stopped it’

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Yvonne grew up in a disrupted family. Before she was in her teens, she had been subjected to sexual abuse at the hands of three men.

Her father, who had physically abused Yvonne and her siblings, took his own life when she was about four or five years old.

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