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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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The‌ ‌Inquiry‌ ‌has‌ ‌taken‌ ‌the‌ ‌difficult decision‌‌ to‌ ‌stop‌ holding face to face Truth Project sessions‌ ‌at‌ ‌this‌ ‌time, after carefully considering the Government's guidance. Other methods of sharing are still available.

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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Richie says victims and survivors may have conflicting feelings about the people who abused them

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Richie was bullied at school and his mother intervened on his behalf.

A charismatic teacher exploited his vulnerability and sexually abused him for several years.

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Harrison was isolated in a school with an atmosphere of fear, humiliation and cruelty

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Harrison was identified as ‘educationally subnormal’ and when he was 12 years old, was forced to attend a residential school far from home.

One of the few people who offered him any solace in the brutally harsh regime was a female staff member, but she betrayed his trust and sexually abused him.

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No one had ever looked at Tamara, or talked to her, the way her abuser did

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Tamara’s mum suffered with mental health difficulties and was in constant fear of ending up in a mental health hospital. This meant that the mother and daughter roles were reversed.

A man groomed her with flattery and attention, then sexually and verbally abused her. She blamed herself for what happened.

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Lewis’s parents trusted the man who sexually abused their son

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On the face of it, the man who sexually abused Lewis was a trustworthy person.

He was a teacher and a leader in a group connected with the church that Lewis and his parents attended.

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Hema says religious leaders in her community ‘are like gods’, but one of them sexually abused her

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Religious leaders in the Sikh temple Hema’s family attended were revered by the community, and this made it impossible for her to tell her family that one of the religious leaders was sexually abusing her.

Hema explains that her parents would sometimes leave her and her sibling in the care of religious leaders at their temple. One of these men would offer Hema sweets, and ask her to hug him in return. She was six or seven years old when this began, and she remembers that the ‘hugs’ seemed to last longer and longer, and feel quite forceful.

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Leonard is upset that his parents’ trust was betrayed by the priests who sexually abused him

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Leonard’s family were devout Christians and he and his two siblings were sent to church schools. He and one of his siblings were sexually abused by priests but at the time did not confide in each other or their parents.

Leonard describes how tortured he felt by the abuse, and his distress that his parents were so cruelly deceived by people they respected and trusted.

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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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Benjamin was abused by a man from church who ‘took away from me the life I would have had’

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Benjamin attended a local church with his family and joined the choir when he was 10 years old. 

Nicholas, an adult, attended the same church and was responsible for publishing the church magazine. Benjamin began to be aware that Nicholas would often be present in the vestry when the choir members were disrobing.

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Jenna envied her friends who were in care because they were better looked after than she was

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Jenna grew up in the 1950s and 60s. Her parents separated when she was a baby and her mother met a new partner, Nick.

This man sexually abused her and when she confided in a male teacher, he did the same.

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When Raquel had a child, she found it hard to understand the way her mother had treated her

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Raquel’s parents separated when she was a young child. 

She and her sister were left in the care of her mother, an alcoholic and a sex worker who exposed her children to sexual abuse.

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Tamsyn’s brother sexually abused her but the police dismissed it as ‘experimenting’

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Tamsyn grew up with three brothers. Her parents were neglectful and had a volatile relationship. 

She said that sexual behaviour was ‘normalised’ within the family from as far back as she can remember, and she was abused by two of her brothers, and one of their friends.

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