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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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Ethan was failed because society didn’t talk about sexual abuse at the time

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Ethan says he had a positive childhood with wonderful supportive parents and lots of opportunities. But this was marred by sexual abuse perpetrated by an adult from a youth organisation.

Ethan’s parents believed him when he told them, and took action, but stopped short of involving the police. He worries that his abuser may have continued his crimes.

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Cyril suffered sexual abuse in children’s homes in the years following World War II

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Cyril grew up in a large family. His father had mental health problems after the war and Cyril knows that he was taken into care at the age of one, as were two of his sisters, each to different places.  

In the late 1940s he was sent to a children’s home. From there many children were migrated to Australia. Cyril only just escaped this fate as his father refused to give permission for his son to be sent abroad.

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Dennis’s care records contained ‘half-truths and lies’ and he calls for improved reporting systems

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The sexual abuse inflicted on Dennis occurred some years ago, and he says that the records of his time in care are contradictory and inaccurate.

His recollection is that at a very young age he was deserted by his mother and was then placed in several children’s homes, an assessment centre, with a foster family and, for a brief period, in the care of a relative.

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Douglas says ‘Victims need justice – it is not about money’

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Douglas describes a childhood of bullying, fear and sexual abuse at the hands of those who should have cared for and protected him.

As a young boy, Douglas sustained a brain injury. As a result, his behaviour changed and his mother found it hard to manage him. She approached social services and Douglas was placed in a residential assessment centre. He remembers trying to run away on the day he first arrived and being placed alone in a secure cell.

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Lily was stereotyped as a ‘sexual predator’ as a young child by adults who should have protected her

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When Lily was young she and her siblings were placed into care, but not all in the same place, much to her disappointment. For the first few years, she and some of her family were in a religious care institution where they did not experience any abuse.

But she and one of her siblings were moved to another place, which she describes as a ‘workhouse’ rather than a home. She adds it was ‘cold’, ‘religious’, there was ‘no warmth’ and living there was a matter of ‘survival of the fittest’.

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Physical and sexual abuse was ‘common knowledge’ at the Catholic school Steven attended

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Steven grew up in a Catholic family in the 1960s. Following prompting by the local priest and family members, he was sent to board at a local Catholic school.

It seems to have been widely known that several teachers abused pupils, and many parents removed their children from the school.

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Mike says ’I don’t know a life without the young me being raped. I don’t know what a normal life would be’

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Mike describes the abuser who raped him when he was a child as a ‘well-respected and powerful man in uniform’. Despite years of suffering caused by his early experiences, he says he considers himself to be ‘luckier than most’. 

Mike, who grew up in an unsettled home, attended the local RAF air cadets squadron. He feels his vulnerability was clear to Oscar, the squadron leader, who singled Mike out to offer the attention, care and love that was missing from his family life.

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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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Joshua was repeatedly let down by people and authorities and suffers mental health issues

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Joshua was sexually abused as a young teenager by his adoptive father Davy, who he describes as a ‘local celebrity’.

A conviction was secured against Davy, after another victim came forward. However, this was some time after Joshua first told people in authority about the sexual abuse and his experience was that he was not believed, and no action was taken because of his reports.

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Sue shared her experience and hopes it will draw a line under the sexual abuse and help her move forward

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Sue grew up in an isolated part of the country and attended a small primary school, where there were few visitors, after-school clubs or external influences. 

Her primary school headteacher, Mr Parker, abused her and other children, and she knows that this was common knowledge in the community. She believes that there were ‘so many opportunities to stop this man’ but he was allowed to continue.

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Emily felt in a permanent state of fear and worthlessness during her childhood

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Emily describes how she endured extreme physical and emotional abuse by her mother, which caused chaos in her life and led to her being sexually abused.

Continually threatened and tortured at home, Emily says she felt scared and unloved. She recalls that when she was about seven years old, she stole £1 from her mother, who threatened to cut off one of her fingers with a large knife.

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