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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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The headmaster who sexually abused Tim was moved to other schools and evidence was destroyed by the church

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Tim recalls how pleased he and his family were when he was allocated a place at the local church school. He says the headmaster ‘took a shine’ to him – he chose Tim to join the school choir and often called him to his office to read aloud and take tests.

But it was not long before the nature of these sessions changed. While Tim was reading, the headmaster began touching him inappropriately, before sending him back to class. Tim did not understand what was going on.

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Agatha describes being on ‘high alert … in a state of constant anxiety’ throughout her fostering

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Agatha’s mother had mental health difficulties and found it difficult to care for her children. Because of this, Agatha and her siblings were placed in care.

She was sexually abused by the sons and father in her foster family, and physically and emotionally abused by the mother. She finds it hard to believe the family was paid to care for her and her sister: ‘They totally abused their position of trust.’

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30 years after she was raped by a teacher, Jackie reported it to the police

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Jackie was doing well at school, socially and academically, until an event happened that had devastating consequences on her life. When she was in her early teens a teacher at her school raped her and it was 30 years before she was able to report it to the police.

The rape had a profoundly negative and lasting effect on her life, and she has clear views on how investigation processes and the judicial system could be improved to support victims more effectively.

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Sexual abuse by a relative and a difficult home life set Luke on a troubled course

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Luke dates the problems he has experienced in his life back to when his uncle sexually abused him.

He was very young when this began and says he would never had said anything as to him it seemed like his uncle was ‘just playing with him and being touchy’. When Luke was about seven or eight years old, his uncle began asking to see Luke’s penis and asking Luke to touch him. He remembers that his mother wanted to know why he didn’t want to go to his uncle’s house, but he could not tell her.

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Victoria was abused by her uncle, but still saw her role as protecting her vulnerable mother

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Victoria was in her 30s when her memories surfaced of the sexual abuse she was subjected to as child. The trigger for this was being told by her mother that her uncle had been charged with child sexual abuse.

Previously, she says her only recollection of childhood had been a vision of complete darkness and a large man’s hand. On hearing the news about her uncle, she began to experience flashbacks, seeing clear images of herself in a church and reliving the experience of being sexually abused. 

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Fiona feels hurt and anguish at her family’s reaction to the sexual abuse she suffered

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Fiona describes the household she grew up in as ‘strict and frightening’. She was from a religious family of priests and nuns. Her father turned to religion when she was about six years old and Fiona describes him as a ‘religious fruitloop’. She recalls that her mother would shout and beat her and her siblings.

Decades later, she realised she had been sexually abused by a visiting uncle, but her family did not support her.

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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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Joshua was repeatedly let down by people and authorities and suffers mental health issues

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Joshua was sexually abused as a young teenager by his adoptive father Davy, who he describes as a ‘local celebrity’.

A conviction was secured against Davy, after another victim came forward. However, this was some time after Joshua first told people in authority about the sexual abuse and his experience was that he was not believed, and no action was taken because of his reports.

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Carl was psychologically and sexually abused by a principal who claimed to be analysing him

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Carl was sent to a boarding school following a conviction. He describes how he took part in ‘therapy sessions’ run by the principal of the school, Mr Doyle, who made sexual interpretations of everything he said.

The claims made by Mr Doyle made life very difficult for Carl as a teenager and still affect him now – he says he finds it difficult to share the first thing that comes to his mind without ‘over-analysing’ before he speaks.

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Penny was sexually abused by the deputy matron in the care home where she was a teenage volunteer

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Penny’s early childhood years were difficult. Her father had mental health problems and she was physically abused and emotionally neglected. The family frequently moved house.

When Penny was in her early teens, the matron of a local care home came into her school asking for volunteers. Penny decided to do this. 

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Tracey-Ann says ‘There is no such thing as bad children, only children that have been dealt a bad hand’

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Tracey-Ann describes a childhood of “abject terror”, with sexual abuse and domestic violence. Her earliest memory is being abused by her babysitter who later became her stepfather.

She describes how she and her siblings were terrorised by their stepfather. He would wait until they were asleep, then drag them from their beds while wearing a mask. 

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For his whole life Adrian says he has felt like a ‘bad person’

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Adrian describes how he has lived for more than 40 years with the effects of sexual abuse perpetrated by a teacher.

He remarks that his parents were ‘private individuals’ who believed ‘teachers should always be respected’, and he felt that he could not say anything about what was happening to him.

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