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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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Now happy and successful, Sonia was sexually abused by her brother and failed by the police

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Sonia describes herself as a happily married mother and a successful businesswoman, with an active family life full of laughter. She is a trustworthy and loyal friend and has a sarcastic sense of humour.

Of least importance to Sonia is that she is a victim of child sexual abuse. She listed this last as, whilst she knows that the abuse has affected and shaped certain aspects of her, it does not define her.

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Eddie was sexually abused at a youth club and it has affected his relationships ever since

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When Eddie was sexually abused as a young boy by a man his parents trusted, one of his main concerns was that he should not make life difficult for other people by telling anyone about it.

Eddie describes his life as a constant battle to recover from what happened to him. He was 11 years old when he joined a sports club run by Doug, a friend of his parents they assumed their son would be safe with.

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When Phil attended the Truth Project, it was the first time in six months that he had left his house

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As children, Phil and his siblings endured a violent and chaotic home life, the loss of a loving grandmother, and a catalogue of physical and sexual abuse by staff in the care system.

The toll this has taken on his physical and emotional health cannot be overstated.

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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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Emily felt in a permanent state of fear and worthlessness during her childhood

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Emily describes how she endured extreme physical and emotional abuse by her mother, which caused chaos in her life and led to her being sexually abused.

Continually threatened and tortured at home, Emily says she felt scared and unloved. She recalls that when she was about seven years old, she stole £1 from her mother, who threatened to cut off one of her fingers with a large knife.

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Tina developed a teenage crush on a teacher who was a controlling abuser

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Tina was groomed and abused by Roy, a married teacher at her school. She was a teenager at the time.

She developed a crush on him, which he encouraged. He was charming, and she says it seemed to be common knowledge among other staff that he liked to talk to the girls at the school.

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Groomed and sexually abused in the cadets, Sonny felt trapped and alone

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Looking back on his early years, Sonny can see that he was a vulnerable child. His mother was an alcoholic and had mental health issues, he regularly witnessed domestic violence and received no parenting.

At the age of 13 years he joined the cadets and would train with them regularly. An ex-serviceman called Logan would hang around outside the cadet building and talk to some of the boys and the cadet trainers. He began giving some of the boys lifts home.

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Shane lived in a children’s custodial institution and feels unable to trust certain kinds of people

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Shane says he committed several crimes as a teenager and was sent to a children’s custodial institution. From the moment he arrived, he was physically abused by staff, beaten and kicked for little or no reason.

He slept in a dormitory with other young people. One night, a member of staff, Duncan, came in and sat on his bed. Duncan began talking in double entendres and making suggestive comments, which Shane says confused him. This was soon followed by sexual abuse.

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The police told Amy that she couldn’t destroy a man’s life just because she said that he had abused her

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Amy suffered mental and physical abuse within her family and did not have a good relationship with her mother. Social services was a major part of her life, with regular meetings on all aspects of her care. She says a number of incidents of abuse have left her feeling angry and frustrated with both social services and the police.

When Amy was a pre-teen, she began chatting on a teen website to Alex, who she believed to be an 18-year-old male but turned out to be male teacher.

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Adam was trapped in a cycle of abuse by a highly manipulative groomer in a position of authority

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Adam says he had a brilliant upbringing in a supportive family with two siblings and ‘great parents’

He and his brother attended the same secondary school. One of the teachers, Mr Baker, ran an activity centre nearby where groups of boys from the school were regularly taken for short breaks. 

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Karen says that private and boarding schools attract people who want to sexually abuse children

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The daughter of migrant parents who had high aspirations for their family’s future in the UK, Karen was sent to a private girls’ school as a boarder.

Karen was very young, the school was a long way from home and her younger sibling had sadly died in childhood. A male teacher exploited her vulnerable position to sexually abuse her and then stalk her for a time after she left the school.

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Isabel says ‘it’s been a very beneficial experience to speak openly to the Truth Project’

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A threatening and disturbing event that happened on a school trip abroad terrified Isabel at the time. The lack of an appropriate response by school staff compounded her distress and had a lasting effect on her wellbeing.

Isabel had been very excited about the trip to a foreign city. The group of teenagers stayed in a youth hostel and she shared a large dormitory with other girls. One night several men came into the room to move some mattresses. Isabel and the other girls felt uncomfortable and disturbed that this had happened. They complained but the teachers and hostel staff did not seem to take their concerns seriously.

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