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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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Hermione felt responsible for being sexually abused by a man twice her age

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Hermione says that when she was a young teenager, she was ‘socially awkward’ and did not have many friends. 

A male shopkeeper flattered her with compliments and attention and sexually abused her.

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Neil discovered his father had also been sexually abused at school

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Neil went to a private school. He describes it as extremely competitive, with a ‘lonely and sad’ atmosphere.

He was sexually and emotionally abused by a teacher, which caused him great distress. He felt able to speak out about what was happening after his father warned him about the possibility of abuse by teachers.

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Karen says that private and boarding schools attract people who want to sexually abuse children

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The daughter of migrant parents who had high aspirations for their family’s future in the UK, Karen was sent to a private girls’ school as a boarder.

Karen was very young, the school was a long way from home and her younger sibling had sadly died in childhood. A male teacher exploited her vulnerable position to sexually abuse her and then stalk her for a time after she left the school.

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Fin was sexually abused as a boy sailor in the Navy in the 1950s

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Fin says that until the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal emerged, he felt he had put the events that happened to him as a teenager ‘more or less to bed’, but now describes how being sexually abused has had a lasting effect on him.

He joined the navy in the 1950s as a boy sailor. The officer in charge of the sailing school praised his talent and put him in a position of responsibility.

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Shona says of her father ‘I still get that sick feeling … if I see someone who looks like him’

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Shona’s father was in the army. He sexually abused her and was also physically and emotionally abusive to her. 

After she left home, he stalked her.

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Rita struggles to understand how such cruel and abusive people could become foster carers

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When Rita was four years old, she and her younger brothers were fostered. These small children were shown no love or kindness from their so-called carers, only cruelty, violence and, in Rita’s case, sexual abuse.

The foster carers meted out violent and vindictive punishments to the three children they had taken in, in complete contrast to the way they treated their own son.

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After being sexually abused, Haley says she saw sex as a way of ‘pleasing people’

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Haley grew up in care and at a young age was adopted by a family. Sadly, this did not keep her safe and secure. She was exposed to sexual abuse and blamed by her parents for the way she behaved subsequently.

Haley’s adoptive parents were older people. Her father was unwell and unable to work, and her mother worked long hours, leaving Haley in the care of her older foster sibling.

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Adrienne says abusers who give free drugs and alcohol ‘make it seem cool but you pay in a different way’

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Adrienne’s parents were both addicted to heroin and she and her older siblings were given no boundaries and left to their own devices.

She describes how the absence of any positive attention in her life made her vulnerable to years of exploitation, violence and sexual abuse, organised by men for their amusement and gratification.

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Jonathan feels he disassociated his current life from his childhood

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Jonathan’s parents lived abroad, and he was sent to boarding school from a young age. There, he was abused on three occasions by Lawrence, who worked at the school as a cricket coach.

Although he says therapy is having a positive effect, it has taken him many years to find the courage to seek help.

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Alberta wants children to know that sexual abuse can happen within a ‘family’ and not just with strangers

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From a very young age Alberta was sexually abused on numerous occasions, often in her home. This made her vulnerable to more abusers, one of whom was another child.

Her attempt to tell a member of staff at school what was happening was not met with an effective response. This added to her feeling that she was not safe anywhere.

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Amelia has made a good life for herself since she was abused, but she would have liked more support

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Amelia says she had a normal childhood, but when she was 14, she and some of her friends began meeting a group of older men who were in their 20s. 

She enjoyed the attention of one of them, believing it was a romantic relationship that would lead to marriage. Her mother successfully intervened to stop the abuse.

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Grace felt she did what she had to do to be loved

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Throughout Grace’s childhood her dad was in poor health and her mum was vulnerable. Despite that, she describes her younger self as a typical teenager.

She attended an all-girls school. When she was a young teenager, a man called Kyle drove past her school in his car and offered to take Grace for a drink.

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