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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.

Feeling unloved, Morgan looked for comfort in online relationships

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One of Morgan’s early memories is being told that she had ‘ruined Valentine’s Day’ as that was the day her mother discovered she was pregnant with her. She remembers being very sad in her childhood and wanting ‘to be loved by someone’.

She began looking at online teenage dating sites when she was about 11 years old, and was preyed on by abusers who she is now sure were older than they claimed.

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Janet’s brother would try to comfort her after their foster father sexually abused her

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Janet says her life is ‘dysfunctional’ due to the violence and sexual abuse she experienced as a child, and feels let down by the police and social services.

When she and her brothers were very young, their parents separated. Unable to look after his children, her father asked a family member to care for them. After a few years of instability, the siblings were placed in foster care where they remained until around they were around 18 years old.

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Spencer says his parents ‘didn't want to make a fuss’ because he attended a prestigious school

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When Spencer was eight years old, he attended a respected church choir school as a boarder.

The culture of the school was one of fear and humiliation, with harsh punishments, and emotional and sexual abuse that pupils had to accept.

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Saffron says the man who abused her online ‘ … was so nice to me, I felt like he was a good person’

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Saffron never met the man who groomed and sexually abused her when she was a young teenager – it was an online encounter.

The experience caused her extreme distress and anxiety, and distorted her perception of relationships.

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Winnie wants to help engage ethnic minority community members with the Truth Project

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Winnie grew up in a large and chaotic family. Her parents had a volatile relationship, and her mother was an alcoholic. She was sexually abused by an older boy, and a pastor who ran a gospel choir.

She believes that within ethnic minority communities, a culture of not engaging with authorities can prevent sexual abuse being reported. Winnie says she was exposed to adult sexual activity from an early age. Her father watched pornography with his friends, and she witnessed adults having sex. 

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In a secure unit, Ronald felt safe for the first time – but this did not last long

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Ronald was sexually abused by two female family members and by a series of men in different institutions.

He has sought help to overcome his trauma, and to be a good parent to his daughter.

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Neve says ‘I see child sexual abuse as a power issue and I would like to see recognition of that’

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Neve was the youngest sibling in a large family and she describes an atmosphere of ‘loyalty, sharing and looking after each other’ during her childhood in the 1960s and 70s.

But sexual abuse by an in-law, inflicted on her as a young girl, and later another family member, has taken its toll on close family bonds. It has also left Neve feeling guilty that she should have done more to stop the abuser.

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Tyler says ‘I feel more damaged now than I ever did, worse than when I was a child’

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Tyler was sexually abused by a female friend of his violent mother.

Thirty years on, he gives a powerful account of the harrowing effects of the abuse that he still lives with.

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Savannah was scared of getting into trouble and this stopped her telling anyone she was being abused

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Savannah’s parents divorced when she was a young child and she spent time with both of them.

Her mother physically abused her, and she was sexually abused by a teenage babysitter at her father’s house.

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Dee says that when she was fostered ‘I wasn’t any bother – I was too terrified to be any bother …’

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After Dee’s father died in an accident her mother was unable to look after her.  

She was sent to live with a foster family, June and Ron, and their two children. She gives a harrowing description of the neglect and abuse that she endured from the day she arrived to live with this couple.

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The priest who abused Greg groomed his family first, and then fought the civil case he eventually brought

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Greg came from a very ‘church going’ background. His family moved to a new house in a small town and became involved with the clergy at the church.

When a new priest, Ken, joined their church, Greg's parents took him under their wing. Ken was a regular visitor and often ate with the family.

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Ivy’s father returned from the war and imposed a regime of tyranny and abuse on his family

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Ivy was born in the 1940s. Her mother gave birth to a number of girls before she had a son, and her father physically and sexually abused his daughters.

Ivy and her sisters were sure that they were worth nothing to him, because he only wanted boys.

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