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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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The‌ ‌Inquiry‌ ‌has‌ ‌taken‌ ‌the‌ ‌difficult decision‌‌ to‌ ‌stop‌ holding face to face Truth Project sessions‌ ‌at‌ ‌this‌ ‌time, after carefully considering the Government's guidance. Other methods of sharing are still available.

Adele says if social workers had listened to her sister, she might not also have been abused by her father

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Adele was sexually abused by her father over two years.

Social workers were involved with her family because of allegations made by her sister, but they did not see that Adele was at risk.

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Paul was sexually abused by his mother and has been diagnosed with PTSD and borderline personality disorder

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Paul had no recollection of the abuse he suffered as a very young child until he was in his late 30s. At that stage he had some psychotic episodes. His memory is now very fragmented.

He has been dealing with these issues for many years. Now he has disclosed them and received help he wants to ‘put things on the record’.

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At first, the boarding school that Errol was sent to seemed a safer place than his home

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Errol had behavioural problems and was sent to a residential school when he was 11 years old. 

He was sexually abused by an older boy, and although school staff knew about this, they did nothing to protect him.

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Laurell’s school operated with little oversight and abusers took full advantage of this

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Laurell grew up in an abusive home. When she was in her early teens she was sent to a small boarding school. It was privately owned by a couple, and was an approved school where some of the pupils were troubled children.

Laurell describes it as a closed institution, with physical and sexual abuse accepted as part of the punishment regime. 

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Pablo says male victims and survivors of abuse can be particularly affected when they become parents

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The first time Pablo realised the enormity of his childhood sexual abuse was when he discovered he was going to become a father.

Pablo was brought up by his mother, who was unable to show love to her children, and instead focused on her work and relationships with men. She married several times; one of her husbands regularly beat Pablo, another was an abusive alcoholic who terrified him. 

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Being black in a hostile environment added to Denisha’s fear and suffering when she was being abused

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Denisha was born in the UK in the early 1960s and her heritage is Caribbean. She was sexually abused by her older brother who came to Britain when Denisha was seven years old.

She also suffered racism at school, and this compounded her lack of confidence that anyone would believe her if she spoke about the sexual abuse.

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Having been raped by his father, Aiden felt ‘fortunate’ when abuse by a teacher was not 'as horrific'

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For as far back as he can remember, Aiden suffered serious abuse at the hands of his father. His mother developed a disability around the time he was born in the early 1960s, and his father blamed him for this. He says: ‘I was hated before I was born by him; I didn’t stand much chance.’

His father demonstrated his hatred and anger by savagely abusing Aiden and allowing other adults to abuse him too.

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Giving evidence against her abusive brother was traumatic for Helga, but resulted in his conviction

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Helga was sexually abused in her home by her older brother. 

Later in life he was charged with abusing his stepdaughter and she gave evidence against him in the case. She feels strongly that she would have benefited from more support after the court case.

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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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Malcolm was asked to leave school when his parents complained about a member of staff who abused him

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Malcolm was sent to a Church of England school, after his father took advice from a local vicar. 

He was sexually abused by a clergyman at the school, and the vicar who had recommended the school later admitted that he had been abused by the same man.

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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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The cruelty and abuse Gloria endured as a child made her determined to love and protect other people

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For reasons she has never understood, Gloria lived for seven years in a convent that was a children’s home. 

She gives an account of cruelty by sadistic nuns, and one in particular who also sexually abused her. 

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