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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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Groomed and sexually abused at prep school, Lawrence is frustrated that the headteacher was not stopped

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Lawrence was sexually abused as a young boy by Stanley, the headmaster of the preparatory school he attended.

He says he could not tell anyone about the abuse. The school was old-fashioned in attitude and offered no pastoral care. In any case, Stanley’s offending seemed to be an open secret. Lawrence believes that many people, including parents of pupils, knew what was going on but no one did anything.

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Derek says that if people focus on compensation, they will not address solutions and cures

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Derek describes how being sexually abused by a teacher at boarding school made him feel embarrassed and guilty.

The teacher was very friendly and would invite Derek to his room, where he drew him into a sexual relationship. Derek says that at the time he felt there was no cruelty involved. Instead he felt bad for ‘encouraging favourable treatment’ and for doing something that he knew was wrong.

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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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Terry says of the children’s home: ‘I would rather have gone to prison ... the cruelty was unbelievable’

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Terry’s father served overseas during the Second World War. His mother was unable to look after her children and Terry and his brother were sent to different Roman Catholic children’s homes.

He survived a regime of organised and sadistic abuse in the home, and narrowly avoided being sent abroad as a child migrant. His brother was sent overseas, with tragic consequences.

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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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Dorian is conflicted about being abused. She feels the abuser was the only one who was kind to her

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When Dorian was still a toddler she was abandoned by her parents and placed in care with a foster family.

She describes ‘horrendous and conflicting’ memories of this time. Her foster mother abused her physically and emotionally. The foster father sexually abused her but she finds it hard to blame or hate him, because she feels he showed her love.

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On reporting her abuse to the police, Lynda says ‘I went in a survivor and left feeling like a victim’

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Lynda was fostered, along with her sister, when she was a toddler. After a series of placements, the girls were permanently placed with a couple who had their own child and another young boy who was also fostered.

By this time Lynda was four and her sister a few years older. Lynda remembers there was ‘no love in that house whatsoever’ and describes her foster father, Robert, as ‘not a very nice person’.

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Jill was traumatised when her family covered up her grandfather’s sexual abuse

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The trauma of being sexually abused as a child by her grandfather became even more devastating when Jill realised that other family members had known and been complicit in covering it up.

Jill relates that she came from a middle-class background, with a businessman father. When her parents divorced very acrimoniously her time was split between them, with most of the holidays spent with her father.

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A ‘horrendous’ experience in court for Thomas added to the trauma of being sexually abused

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Thomas and his brothers belonged to a local sports club and met people from other clubs at events. When the family moved house, the boys transferred to another club, chaired by a man called Robin who they already knew from sporting events.

Robin used his position of status in the club and the sport to sexually abuse Thomas.

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After being sexually abused in care, Katie says care records need to be accurate and transparent

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Katie was taken into care at a young age but is not sure exactly why. She says she felt well‑loved by her family but remembers her mother forgetting to pick her up from school a couple of times, having been drinking.

Katie describes the next six years of her life in children’s homes as ‘hell on earth’. She was subjected to sexual abuse, violent assault, emotional abuse and neglect. On one occasion she believes she nearly died – she had a serious illness, but care staff did not believe she was ill and would not seek medical help.

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Lucy’s trauma has caused lifelong problems for herself and her family

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Hospitalised at the age of 11 years because of an assault by her mother, Lucy was taken into care and placed with a foster family. There, she was raped repeatedly by a violent man and his two teenage sons.

Lucy’s attempts to seek justice have not succeeded and she has suffered severe mental health difficulties. Despite this, she has managed to build strong and happy relationships with her family and loved ones.

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After a lifetime of physical abuse, Glenn thought a sexual abuser was showing him love

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Glenn’s story begins when he was taken away from his homeless mother soon after he was born and taken into care. His mother was denied visitation rights and she had passed away by the time he left care. He never knew the identity of his father. 

He spent time in several different children’s homes across the country. During this time, he suffered physical and sexual abuse by his carers and at the hands of regular visitors approved by the homes. 

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