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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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Jack says ‘I hated everyone, nobody cared and I was abusing solvents and truanting’

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Placed in care due to a family break-up, Jack’s vulnerability was exploited by a worker in the care system. Years later a gesture of kindness from a teacher was a turning point in his chaotic life that helped him reassess his view of the world.

Jack tried to report his abuser, but his experience was frustrating and unsatisfactory.

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Brian felt ‘almost paralysed by the memories’ of the sexual abuse he endured

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Brian was sexually abused by his father for many years. Lack of support for his mental health problems, and his concern about the possible risk to children in his father’s new family, have added to his distress.

Brian says both his parents worked in good professions and his father was a figure of some importance in the community.

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Violence was ‘normal’ for Bobby when he was growing up, which left him vulnerable to sexual abuse

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Bobby’s parents were alcoholics and had a violent relationship, which Bobby often witnessed. The family were known to social services and he was in and out of care as a child.

On one occasion he was placed with a ‘lovely’ foster family, but he says he could not emotionally handle their niceness. Social services placed him with another family that he did not like from the first meeting.The foster father used to mock him. Bobby told the social worker that he did not want to stay with the foster family, but he was left there.

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After being sexually abused, Haley says she saw sex as a way of ‘pleasing people’

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Haley grew up in care and at a young age was adopted by a family. Sadly, this did not keep her safe and secure. She was exposed to sexual abuse and blamed by her parents for the way she behaved subsequently.

Haley’s adoptive parents were older people. Her father was unwell and unable to work, and her mother worked long hours, leaving Haley in the care of her older foster sibling.

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Jessica was told that ‘people like you’ do not get justice

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During the 1980s, when she was aged between 12 and 16 years, Jessica was sexually and physically abused at various children’s homes.

She describes how she has fought and campaigned for justice and transparency for many years because she wants to prevent others going through the same experiences. She says she will not rest until light is finally shone on the sexual abuse perpetrated in the area where she grew up.

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The man who raped Sally when she was a teenage girl continued to intimidate her with mockery

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Sally was raped as a teenager and feels that a teacher in her school was complicit in this crime.

The rapist was a friend of the teacher, and also worked at the school. Sally says her abuser bought presents for her and the teacher encouraged her to meet him. At the time, she did not know about grooming.

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Ethyn did not report a fellow schoolboy for abusing him ‘out of loyalty’

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Ethyn was sent to a private boarding school where he was targeted by older pupils and teachers for sexual abuse.

The large dormitory in which Ethyn slept was supervised by a prefect who made it clear he considered Ethyn, who was not yet a teenager, to be ‘pretty’.

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Freddie’s abuser was a teacher with influence in the church, local businesses and sports teams

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Freddie’s abuser was a teacher whose power and influence extended into the church, a business and a sports team in the local area. He feels this network of control made it easier for the man to abuse many young people.

After his parents divorced, Freddie did not see his mum for a long time and his dad worked long hours to provide for him and his siblings. The church was a big influence on the family and Freddie attended a faith school. 

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Derek says that if people focus on compensation, they will not address solutions and cures

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Derek describes how being sexually abused by a teacher at boarding school made him feel embarrassed and guilty.

The teacher was very friendly and would invite Derek to his room, where he drew him into a sexual relationship. Derek says that at the time he felt there was no cruelty involved. Instead he felt bad for ‘encouraging favourable treatment’ and for doing something that he knew was wrong.

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Daisy feels more should be done to meet the mental health needs of victims and survivors

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Daisy’s early recollections of her childhood are that her parents cared for her emotionally and physically. But when she was 10 or 11 years old, she began to experience fear and to develop obsessive compulsive disorder.

After talking to a school friend, she realised her life wasn’t as normal as she had thought and that her grandfather had been sexually abusing her since she was very young.

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Douglas says ‘Victims need justice – it is not about money’

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Douglas describes a childhood of bullying, fear and sexual abuse at the hands of those who should have cared for and protected him.

As a young boy, Douglas sustained a brain injury. As a result, his behaviour changed and his mother found it hard to manage him. She approached social services and Douglas was placed in a residential assessment centre. He remembers trying to run away on the day he first arrived and being placed alone in a secure cell.

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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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