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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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Jesse behaved badly when he was a child, but no one tried to find out why

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Jesse had a learning difficulty, but when he was a young child, his behaviour was seen as disruptive and challenging.

He was sent to different schools for children with physical and emotional needs and was sexually abused by a male member of staff and another pupil.

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Her mother’s religious devotion made Sara vulnerable to sexual abuse

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Sara grew up in a divided family. Her mother was a Jehovah’s Witness but her father never joined the faith. He began to have affairs, left the family home and passed away when Sara was 11.

Relying on the support it provided, her mother became increasingly involved with her religion.

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Darren says that being abused distorted his idea of what was ‘normal’ in relationships

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Darren was sexually abused as a child when he lived in military accommodation.

His behaviour deteriorated as a result, and because he was considered to be ‘bad’. He thought no one would believe him if he spoke about the abuse.

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Curtis remembers how he felt when he was eight: ‘no one spoke a single kind word to me, ever’

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Curtis spent almost his entire childhood in care, during the 1950s and 60s. As a young child he was moved from a residential nursery to a care home which he describes as ‘the most miserable place on the planet’.

Isolated from his family and not knowing what had happened to his mother, he faced years of physical and sexual abuse with no one to turn to.

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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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Jennie was sexually abused in a boarding school and says they should be banned

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With her parents overseas, Jennie was left in a boarding school during the 1980s, with no respite from a regime of harsh punishments and a predatory headteacher.

The severe sexual abuse Jennie suffered has left her with many difficult issues she struggles to resolve, and a conviction that boarding schools should be banned.

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India says ‘I want to succeed in life, but don’t feel I can because my past gets in the way’

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India was neglected as a child. 

When she was sexually abused, in one way, she says, she was pleased someone was taking an interest in her.

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Alwyn believes that the abuse he experienced will never go away

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When Alwyn was not selected for his college football team, a lecturer took advantage and offered extra coaching, then sexually abused him.

Alwyn was 16 when he went to further education college. Because it was some distance from his home, he stayed in accommodation on the campus. 

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After he was abused, Bryn led a troubled life, but says counselling changed everything for him

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Although his parents split up, Bryn describes his childhood as happy. But sexual abuse by a cadet leader altered the course of his life.

Bryn was the youngest of three children. His mother was in her early 20s when his father left the family. Bryn missed him, but soon after, his mother got a new partner, and Bryn says he could not have asked for a better stepfather. He was also close to his grandfather.

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Justine says ‘After my dad died I was passed from one man to another’

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Justine was seven years old when her father died. 

She lived in poverty, was neglected and several people took advantage of this to physically and sexually abuse her. 

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Gregor says the myth that victims and survivors will become abusers stops them from speaking out

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Gregor was sexually molested by a youth leader when he was a young boy.

He confided in someone he thought he could trust, but this person raped him.

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Ian was abused and threatened by a teacher in a church school, but felt the ‘sin’ was his

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Several decades ago, Ian attended a Catholic grammar school and for the first few years, he enjoyed it. Then a new teacher arrived, whose abusive behaviour had a ruinous effect on Ian’s life.

The young teacher, Jim, quickly singled Ian out and offered him extra tuition at home. He persuaded Ian’s mother that because the family home was noisy, it would be better to work in Ian’s bedroom.

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