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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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Sexual abuse by a relative and a difficult home life set Luke on a troubled course

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Luke dates the problems he has experienced in his life back to when his uncle sexually abused him.

He was very young when this began and says he would never had said anything as to him it seemed like his uncle was ‘just playing with him and being touchy’. When Luke was about seven or eight years old, his uncle began asking to see Luke’s penis and asking Luke to touch him. He remembers that his mother wanted to know why he didn’t want to go to his uncle’s house, but he could not tell her.

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William says ‘My brain got broken a bit when I was young’

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William’s memories of childhood are violence, neglect, sexual abuse and having no one to turn to. He says: ‘My brain got broken a bit when I was young.’

He comments that his mother ‘never really parented me’ and he grew up witnessing severe domestic violence between his parents. William says he made many attempts to kill himself.

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Oliver talks about how mental health services are failing survivors

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Oliver has experienced serious mental health problems as a result of sexual abuse in his childhood. He came to the Inquiry to give his views on how mental health services are failing survivors.

As a young schoolboy, Oliver encountered an older pupil who he admired and looked up to. The older boy got Oliver to carry out increasingly strange tasks by way of ‘serving’ him. Looking back, Oliver sees he was in a sort of ‘sexual slavery’ and was subject to a variety of violent and sexual abuse. But, he says: ‘I didn’t see it as abuse at the time; just something really, really terrible.’

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Juliet was disbelieved and blamed for the immoral behaviour of adults

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A succession of abusive encounters in the care system led to Juliet being sexualised at a young age, then disbelieved and blamed for the immoral behaviour of adults.

Juliet’s father left the family home when she was a baby and her mother was an alcoholic and a drug-user. At 18 months old, Juliet was placed in foster care with a family.

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Chloe, sexually abused by a family friend and curate at the church, struggled with the legal process

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Publicity about child sex abuse cases prompted Chloe to report incidents that occurred when she was a young teenager. This resulted in a successful prosecution, but the abuse has had a significant effect on her mental health and the court case was very difficult for her.

Chloe has a recollection of sexual abuse by a family friend that occurred when she was between the ages of five and 11 years, but she cannot remember the details.

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Janine says ‘I thought that was how daddies showed love ... I scrubbed myself to get rid of the feeling’

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Janine describes a childhood of fear, neglect and sexual abuse. Her mother had mental health difficulties and was emotionally unavailable and her father was an alcoholic.

The sexual abuse began when she was five years old and she has no clear memory of life before it.

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Jennie was sexually abused in a boarding school and says they should be banned

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With her parents overseas, Jennie was left in a boarding school during the 1980s, with no respite from a regime of harsh punishments and a predatory headteacher.

The severe sexual abuse Jennie suffered has left her with many difficult issues she struggles to resolve, and a conviction that boarding schools should be banned.

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Tony still lives with the vivid memories of the sexual abuse he suffered by a priest

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When Tony’s mother left the family home, he was placed in a religious children’s home where he found himself at the mercy of the manager and her relative, a priest who sexually abused him.

Tony is not aware that any checks were made on his welfare by anyone in authority and he felt unable to tell his father, who admired the priest.

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Aubrey says ‘If a child raises an alarm, listen ... because children know right from wrong’

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Aubrey wanted to share with the Truth Project his experience of the devastating consequences of adults not listening to children. 

After he reported his concerns about a teacher, it took 30 years for the man to be brought to justice.

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Eileen cannot recall any happy memories from her childhood

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Eileen and her sister were subjected to sexual abuse from her brothers and father, who was also a heavy drinker with a violent temper that he took out on all the children and his wife. 

This abuse began when Eileen was six or seven years old and continued until she was 15 or 16, when both brothers were married and left home.

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Stella says ‘It affects how you are if you are treated badly when young and people take advantage of that’

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Stella says she loved and admired her mother but describes her as emotionally unstable. She was a difficult parent who referred to her daughter as ‘unexpected – a little mistake’. 

Her lack of confidence because of her treatment at home, and her politeness, made her vulnerable to abuse.

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Simon was sexually abused in the care system and came to the Truth Project to help others change their lives

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Neglected and physically abused by his birth mother, Simon spent his childhood in the care system, where he was subjected to serial sexual abuse.

He feels deep empathy for others who have suffered in a similar way and wants to use his experiences to help victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

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