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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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Daisy feels more should be done to meet the mental health needs of victims and survivors

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Daisy’s early recollections of her childhood are that her parents cared for her emotionally and physically. But when she was 10 or 11 years old, she began to experience fear and to develop obsessive compulsive disorder.

After talking to a school friend, she realised her life wasn’t as normal as she had thought and that her grandfather had been sexually abusing her since she was very young.

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Ethyn did not report a fellow schoolboy for abusing him ‘out of loyalty’

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Ethyn was sent to a private boarding school where he was targeted by older pupils and teachers for sexual abuse.

The large dormitory in which Ethyn slept was supervised by a prefect who made it clear he considered Ethyn, who was not yet a teenager, to be ‘pretty’.

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Sinead says ‘If I had been asked “Is anyone hurting you?”, I would have told’

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Sinead has disturbing memories that go back to a very young age. She remembers her father coming to the family home and beating her mother. 

Shortly after that, her family moved in with the man who became her stepfather; they shared the family home with him and his other children.

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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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Francesca thought her controlling and manipulative father was ‘the best human being alive’

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Francesca and her parents lived abroad when she was young but her mother had an affair which led to her parents separating.

Her father was very manipulative, and ensured that Francesca lived with him by threatening to kill himself if her mother did not allow this. He sexually abused his daughter for seven years, which caused lasting damage to her life.

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Olwyn wishes that professionals could have ‘seen beyond the behaviour to the abused child’

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Olwyn was neglected as a child and sexually abused at home by her stepfather.

Some years later she ran away to escape but endured more abuse in the care system.

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Scott says that a spell in prison was easier than his time in a children’s care home

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When Scott was six months old, he and his two siblings were placed in a convent care home run by nuns. Their parents’ marriage had broken down and their mum had left.

A relative removed the two older siblings from the convent, but Scott was left there until he was 16. He was subjected to harsh punishments in the home and sexual abuse by a man who claimed to be helping with his health issues.

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For his whole life Adrian says he has felt like a ‘bad person’

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Adrian describes how he has lived for more than 40 years with the effects of sexual abuse perpetrated by a teacher.

He remarks that his parents were ‘private individuals’ who believed ‘teachers should always be respected’, and he felt that he could not say anything about what was happening to him.

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Penny was sexually abused by the deputy matron in the care home where she was a teenage volunteer

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Penny’s early childhood years were difficult. Her father had mental health problems and she was physically abused and emotionally neglected. The family frequently moved house.

When Penny was in her early teens, the matron of a local care home came into her school asking for volunteers. Penny decided to do this. 

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Despite experiencing brutal sexual abuse in care, Alan now has a successful career and loving family

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Alan’s earliest memories are of living in fear at a care home. He endured brutal sexual abuse, cruel punishments, limited food, hard physical work and no kindness, love or affection.

Remarkably, in his adult life he went on to establish a successful career. He wants to relate his experiences to try and help children in the future.

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Jasmine believes her parents’ lifestyle made her vulnerable to abuse

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Jasmine relates that she grew up in a household where she was exposed to things she should not have experienced at such a young age.

From the time she was a toddler her mother and father had an ‘open marriage’. She describes the effect this had on her idea of how sex should be in a loving relationship and how vulnerable it made her to sexual abuse. This occurred in her home and neighbourhood. She believes the perpetrators could ‘sniff out’ her vulnerability.

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Chris was sexually abused in a Christian children’s home

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Chris has a dual heritage. As a baby he was placed in a Christian children’s home where he says the perception of staff was that the children came from parents with poor morals and needed ‘saving’. In fact, the environment the home provided caused him enormous harm.

Chris’ mother’s parents were furious when she became pregnant and sent their daughter away to give birth. Chris’s father had returned to Africa and his mother felt that it was in Chris’s best interest to place him in care.

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