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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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Lee was groomed and sexually abused by a Scout leader who exploited his loneliness and vulnerability

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Lee transitioned to male as an adult. He was sexually abused as a young teenage girl. Lee describes his former self as a vulnerable child, who was bullied in school, and had no friends.

He was unhappy at home and says he felt he had no adult advocates. He found comfort in reading and at school he was placed on both the gifted and talented track and the learning difficulties track. He began self-harming by cutting around the age of 11 years but hid this from his parents.

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Being sexually abused had a drastic effect on Rosalind’s behaviour at school

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Rosalind was sexually abused by the father of two of her friends.

She became badly behaved at school and depressed, and started self-harming.

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Jonty was ‘hounded out’ of his school to stop him reporting that a teacher had abused him

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Jonty attended a private school in the 1970s. 

He was raped by a teacher on a school trip, and bullied into silence when he tried to report it.

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Cameron found reporting the sexual abuse he experienced empowering and it has helped him regain control

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Grooming and sexual abuse, followed by rejection, has made it difficult for Cameron to trust people.

However, he has been able to have helpful conversations with his parents about the abuse, and he is hopeful there will be a successful prosecution of his abuser.

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Madison says ‘I never wanted to go home ... it was supposed to be my refuge’

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Madison was brought up in a large family as a Jehovah’s Witness. 

She was physically and sexually abused by family members but the closed nature of their religion ensured there was no intervention from outside authorities.

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When the man who abused her was found not guilty, Halle felt that ‘no one believes children’

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Halle loved music as a child, but her parents could not afford lessons for her. She was thrilled when a music teacher offered her free tuition. 

This man turned out to be a sexual abuser, but as an adult, Halle applies her traumatic experiences to make a difference in her career.

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Having seen her care records, Carol cannot believe that they did not see what was going on

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Carol was put on the child protection register due to neglect. She was sexually abused by men of two generations in her foster family and subsequently by staff and residents in a care home. She tried to tell social workers about the sexual abuse but was never believed.

Carol’s dad had left their family home and her mum used to leave her on her own to go to the pub, often returning drunk with men.

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Kieran believes that police forces should be better trained to deal with non-recent sexual abuse cases

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Kieran has early memories of a good family life, but after the death of his father he endured abuse and violence.

A few years after Kieran’s father died, his mother met a new partner who moved into the family home with his two sons, Lewis and Carl. They were in their late teens and had been in trouble with the authorities.

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Luna’s mother could not get the authorities to respond to her reports that her daughter was being abused

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When Luna was in her early teens, her father died, leaving her with her mother who had serious mental health problems.

An older man pretended to empathise with her difficult life, and groomed and sexually abused her.

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Maddy says abusive behaviour was normalised in the 1970s with talk of ‘dirty old men’

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Maddy grew up in a small town in the early 1970s. 

She was sexually abused by a school caretaker. It was only years later she realised the extent of how he abused her. 

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Carter has felt shame that he was brutally abused by a Scout leader

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When Carter joined a Scout group he met a leader called Bernard, who was in his early 20s. 

Bernard groomed Carter, drugged him and raped him.

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Edward says that people mistakenly believed that religious staff would show empathy to children

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Edward’s father disappeared when he was born. When he was very young his mother was taken into hospital and took him with her. She died in the hospital and Edward was taken into care soon afterwards.

Edward has no memory of his mother – no photographs and no records. His earliest memory was being taken into care by nuns who ran a convent. His first memory of abuse was being in a dormitory with lots of other boys. Each bedtime, the boys were made to kneel by the bed and say their prayers. The nuns would then come around with a cane and hit the bottom of the bed. They would ask if the boys were asleep and if any of them were caught awake they were given a hiding.

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