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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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Amanda reported her teacher to the police after the Jimmy Saville case became public

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Amanda says of her family life: ‘Everything was about pleasing daddy.’

There were sexualised and controlling relationships between her father and his wife and children, who were encouraged to compete for his favour and attention. She believes this dynamic made her vulnerable to sexual abuse in the residential school she attended.

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Veronica was a deaf child whose parents had died, but police described the nun who abused her as ‘vulnerable’

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Veronica’s father passed away when she was young and when her mum became terminally ill the family started looking at children’s homes for Veronica to live. Her siblings were fostered, but the foster parents didn’t want Veronica as she was deaf. A home was found which had a deaf school attached.

Veronica was placed in a children’s home run by nuns. She was subjected to cruelty and abuse from a few of the nuns, including one who was particularly sadistic. No one in the home signed, so communication was difficult for Veronica. It was run by four main nuns. Veronica recalls that she liked one of them, but the others were very cruel.

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In desperation, Jodie wrote in her school book ‘I really need help’

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Jodie was groomed by four men and subjected to serious sexual abuse by a larger group of males.

There were many obvious indications that she was leading an extremely troubled life, but no institutions intervened effectively.

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Dorothy says ‘It’s like my memories don’t exist. That’s worse than the abuse!’

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Dorothy describes how from a very young age she endured fear and humiliation, along with physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

As an adult, she feels she is still suffering an equally painful ordeal because her account has not been taken seriously.

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Noah thinks the causes of behavioural changes in children need to be identified

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Noah was sexually abused by a priest and an older child. These experiences caused behavioural problems for him at school and led him to cut himself off from the church and lose his faith.

His says the impact of the abuse on his mental health was made worse by his dealings with the police when he reported it.

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Her parents were ‘respectable’ and Elspeth thinks no one believed anything bad was happening at home

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Elspeth describes her parents as two middle class and respectable people, on the surface. But behind the scenes, there was domestic violence in the family home, and they both sexually abused their daughter.

Elspeth was the eldest of two siblings. The abuse she suffered at home was so regular and extensive that she finds it hard to be sure when it began. She knows that when she was a baby she was placed into foster care because her mother had serious mental health issues.

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Samson’s experiences have made him very cautious about where his children are and who they are with

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Samson was abused by a man called Mick who made friends with his family and won their trust by taking Samson and a friend to the park.

But these outings that the boys enjoyed turned out to be a grooming exercise so that Mick could abuse them.

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Mia was sexually abused by her cousin and groomed by an older man, becoming pregnant as a young teenager

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Mia’s parents divorced when she was young, and she lived with her mother. But later, rejection by her mother and stepfather led Mia into a chaotic life, abuse by an older man and pregnancy as a young teenager.

After the divorce, an older cousin would babysit Mia when her mother went out, and on these occasions would share her bed.

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The police told Amy that she couldn’t destroy a man’s life just because she said that he had abused her

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Amy suffered mental and physical abuse within her family and did not have a good relationship with her mother. Social services was a major part of her life, with regular meetings on all aspects of her care. She says a number of incidents of abuse have left her feeling angry and frustrated with both social services and the police.

When Amy was a pre-teen, she began chatting on a teen website to Alex, who she believed to be an 18-year-old male but turned out to be male teacher.

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Aida says: ‘I have told very few people what happened … my ex-husband said it was my fault’

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Aida chose to share her experiences with the Truth Project by letter. She writes that she was sexually abused in her home from a very young age by her mother’s partner, and throughout her later life by other men.

As an adult this led to her feeling ‘timid, frightened and usable’ in an abusive marriage.

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Unlike most schoolchildren, Estelle did not look forward to the long summer holidays

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Estelle grew up in a large family. She says it was a warm environment but they struggled financially and socially because her father suffered from severe mental health issues.

Estelle comments that when she was growing up, there was considerable stigma attached to mental health conditions and as a result her family experienced some social isolation.

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Tammy says the effect of abuse cannot be ignored by society

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Tammy was a young girl when her stepfather moved in to the family home. She already had sisters, and her mum and stepfather then had another girl.

She describes her stepfather as an ‘absolute monster’ and ‘a bit of a psychopath’. She says he tore her family apart and still does, because of the lasting effects of his abuse, violence, manipulation and control.

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