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Experiences Shared

These are some of the experiences of child sexual abuse shared with the Truth Project by victims and survivors. All names and identifying details have been changed.

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Due to the current situation caused by coronavirus (Covid-19) we have made some changes to Truth Project sessions in person. You can still share your experience with the Truth Project over the phone, in writing, and now through a video call.

Home was not a safe haven for Lynne, but a place where she was regularly abused by her own father

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Lynne grew up in a military family, and regular house moves added to her sense of insecurity. She is now a campaigner for survivors of child sexual abuse.

Her father began to sexually abuse Lynne, the oldest of three children, before she was school age. This continued until she was in her mid-teens. She says her mother was aware of the abuse but did nothing to stop it. ‘She was a very weak woman’, says Lynne, ‘a victim too, in a way’. 

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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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As a survivor of sexual abuse, Wasiba now challenges the attitudes of men in her family

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Wasiba was brought up in a large Muslim family. When she was eight years old her father deserted them.

He had been violent towards Wasiba’s mother, and she says it was a relief to be away from him. But older male cousins and their friends began to sexually abuse her, threatening to tell her family if she disobeyed them.

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Celeste says ‘ignorance and lack of knowledge and awareness are the biggest covers for abuse’

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Celeste says her parents were religious, strict and naive. 

She enjoyed regular visits to her grandmother, but a male relative who lived there sexually abused her. The impact of this has been all-encompassing and lifelong.

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Selina feels there should be more support available for victims and survivors

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Selina’s family were supportive when she told them she had been sexually abused as a child.

However, she felt let down by police and court procedures and is concerned that these systems have not improved.

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Amanda reported her teacher to the police after the Jimmy Savile 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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Fletcher was a GI baby who was put into care with no one to look out for him

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Fletcher was born towards the end of the Second World War. His mother was English and married to a British soldier who was serving overseas. His father was a black American GI. 

Handed over to the care system, Fletcher was sexually abused by the headteacher of a boys’ home. 

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Lola applies her experiences of sexual abuse to deliver prevention education in schools

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Lola grew up in a Catholic family. She was sexually abused by a relative for many years, starting when she was a small child. 

She was subjected to further sexual abuse by three more perpetrators, including a priest. She believes that her early experiences made her confused and vulnerable to other abusers.

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Calvin was scared of his mother and tried to stay away from her as much as possible

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Calvin grew up in the early 1950s in a difficult family environment, with a violent, neurotic and unstable mother.

He suffered sexual abuse by his mother, and also by her boyfriend. 

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John describes how sexual abuse ‘tainted’ something that was precious to him

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John was about 11 years old when his parents separated. 

He joined a local Scouts group, and found solace in friendships and activities. But three adult leaders exploited his need for care and attention, and sexually abused him.

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Diya says ‘It’s taken me years to understand I didn’t do anything wrong’

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From the age of nine, Diya was sexually abused by her stepfather.

She says the culture in her community means that victims of sexual abuse are blamed, and she has fought hard to overcome the effect this had on her.

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Sophie thought she was in love and that she was special when she was sexually abused by a teacher

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Sophie came to the Truth Project to talk about the grooming and sexual abuse she experienced as a teenager by her teacher, and the failings of the teaching staff and other adults to intervene.

She describes growing up in a ‘mollycoddled’ household with a very close extended family who lived close by and saw each other daily.

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