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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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Stacey was raped by her uncle. A judge branded her as ‘a scheming little Lolita’

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Stacey describes her early childhood growing up in a family that was ‘wealthy and stable’. But their fortunes changed when she was six years old and her parents struggled to look after her and her siblings.

After a few years in care, Stacey and her siblings were fostered by her uncle. This man abused and raped her, resulting in her becoming pregnant.

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The police said sexual abuse of Lexi by teenage boys was ‘experimenting’

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When she was about 18 months old, Lexi’s father took her from her mother and they moved into a block of flats.

The father of another family sexually abused Lexi when she was a small child. As a young teenager, she suffered further sexual abuse from teenage neighbours. The police dismissed her as an unreliable witness.

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Hamid was abused by an uncle, but at family gatherings, he had to pretend nothing had happened

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Hamid grew up in a Muslim family with his mother, father and sister. His father was extremely violent and the family broke up. 

Hamid, his mother and sister went to live with their extended family. This did not turn out to be a place of refuge for Hamid, because his cousin and his uncle sexually abused him.

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Mike says ’I don’t know a life without the young me being raped. I don’t know what a normal life would be’

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Mike describes the abuser who raped him when he was a child as a ‘well-respected and powerful man in uniform’. Despite years of suffering caused by his early experiences, he says he considers himself to be ‘luckier than most’. 

Mike, who grew up in an unsettled home, attended the local RAF air cadets squadron. He feels his vulnerability was clear to Oscar, the squadron leader, who singled Mike out to offer the attention, care and love that was missing from his family life.

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Isaiah says he was ‘fearful most of the time’ when he was young

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Isaiah was born during the Second World War. He describes his father as ‘a horrible man’ who was cruel to his mother, and evicted her and her four children from the house.

When he was six years old, Isaiah was placed in a Barnado’s home. He endured a harsh regime and sexual abuse by a matron.

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Michael talked at the Truth Project for the first time about being sexually abused

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Michael says that when he heard about the Truth Project it reminded him of Archbishop Desmond Tutu encouraging the public hearings of human rights abuses in post-apartheid Africa.

He believes it is invaluable for people to be able to speak out about the past, and he thinks it would be wrong of him, as a victim and survivor of sexual abuse, not to share his experience. He hopes he can better inform people and help protect children in the future.

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Alexa says that no agency should turn a blind eye to inappropriate relationships

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Alexa recounts that as a teenager, she had an ‘intimate relationship’ with her science teacher. He lied about the state of his marriage and when the ‘relationship’ ended, she was left troubled for many years.

She says that at the time, she felt it was a love affair and it was only years after it ended and she became a mother that she recognised it was abuse.

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Now in her 50s, at 14 Alison was pregnant by a care home staff member and tried to drown her own daughter

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As an adult Alison has obtained a copy of her care file. She describes it as a ‘litany of failures’ and it contains information that supports her account of her experiences.

She was removed from her mother’s care as a toddler, having been found ‘wasting away’ in her cot; her father was in prison. From then, she experienced abuse from staff in the care system that culminated in her becoming pregnant after being raped.

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Linus says ‘I had a wasted childhood … but I’ve overcome it’

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Linus was adopted at birth, but this did not provide him with stability, safety or love. His adoptive mother was abusive and this made him vulnerable to abuse by others.

He is aware that his childhood has affected him, but is proud of all he has achieved since, and says he feels he may be lucky.

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Unlike most schoolchildren, Estelle did not look forward to the long summer holidays

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Estelle grew up in a large family. She says it was a warm environment but they struggled financially and socially because her father suffered from severe mental health issues.

Estelle comments that when she was growing up, there was considerable stigma attached to mental health conditions and as a result her family experienced some social isolation.

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Maggie left the area where she grew up because of the bad memories it holds for her

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Maggie describes growing up with her brother in a house where they were not allowed to play, make any noise or have toys.

From the age of seven to 10 years, she was sexually abused by two men in her local community, but was told not to ‘make a fuss’ when she tried to tell her mother what was happening.

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Melvin observes ‘Sometimes the friendliest, most personable people are the worst abusers’

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When Melvin was sexually abused at the age of nine, he felt able to tell his loving and supportive parents what had happened.

But the following year, the local vicar began grooming him and then sexually abusing him. The abuser was liked and respected by Melvin’s church-going family, and the local parish community. This caused great confusion for Melvin, and made it impossible for him to speak out about the abuse.

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