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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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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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Discovering that her young daughter had been sexually abused triggered Pamela’s own memories of abuse

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Pamela describes her horror when she discovered that her young child was being sexually abused by an organised group. This revelation, devastating in itself, also triggered a flood of dreadful memories and nightmares for Pamela.

Her early life was loveless and defined by brutality and neglect. As a baby she was placed in a residential nursery, after the death of her mother. She later lived with her step family as a young child until her early teenage years. She remembers beatings, starvation and neglect, and how unhappy she was.

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Cathy was empowered by the compensation she received for the sexual abuse at her church

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Cathy was sexually abused by a youth worker in her church who became a minister and went on to work in another youth organisation. Cathy felt stonewalled by the church in her attempts to gain acknowledgment of the sexual abuse, but has persisted in speaking out, with the support of her loved ones.

Cathy grew up in a strict religious family and felt very isolated as a child. Her mother had a condition which made it difficult to have visitors, and she never knew her grandparents.

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Sexually abused by several men, Iris has asked herself ‘Was it my fault? Did I give off the wrong signals?’

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Iris’s father subjected her and her disabled mother to abuse and bullying. This made Iris vulnerable to abuse by other men and left her feeling confused and guilty about the sexual abuse she was subjected to on several occasions.

She says ‘It was a common experience in women and girls’ daily lives. Well, that was my experience.’ And she has questioned: ‘Was I too attractive? Was I to blame?’.

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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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