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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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Cathy was empowered by the compensation she received for the sexual abuse at her church

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Cathy was sexually abused by a youth worker in her church who became a minister and went on to work in another youth organisation. Cathy felt stonewalled by the church in her attempts to gain acknowledgment of the sexual abuse, but has persisted in speaking out, with the support of her loved ones.

Cathy grew up in a strict religious family and felt very isolated as a child. Her mother had a condition which made it difficult to have visitors, and she never knew her grandparents.

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Gareth was put in care to protect him from a violent father, but this did not keep him safe from sexual abuse

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Gareth was five years old when he was removed from the family home. He was given several placements, including two different foster carers, one of whom mentally abused him.

At the next children’s home he was sent to, he was sexually abused for four years by Ron, the officer in charge.  

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Barbara says ‘I want my voice heard, I want it on record … I am not the child in the police station’

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Barbara was a little girl when her happy life was shattered by the death of her mother. While trying to cope with her loss and grief, she was sexually abused by her adult stepbrother.

Within a year of her mother’s death, Barbara’s father had remarried, and her life changed dramatically.

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Anita was sexually abused by a relative. Justice was only done after many years and family discord

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As a young child, Anita was regularly taken to visit her grandparents. On these visits, a family member would take her off to a different room and sexually abuse her. 

She had a medical condition which meant that she was frequently in hospital. During one consultation she told the doctor that she ‘hurting down below’. Instead of reporting this, the doctor advised Anita’s mother to ‘blow on’ the parts that were sore. Anita’s mother thought that Anita was being ‘all dramatic’ and she continued to be taken to her grandparents’ home, where her family member would be.

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60 years after being sexually abused at private school, Henry came to the Truth Project

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Henry says it was difficult for him to come forward to the Truth Project; in 60 years he has never spoken about his sexual abuse to anyone other than his partner.

Henry hopes that talking about the sexual abuse he suffered will form a small but important part of the Inquiry ‘jigsaw’ and may in some way help to protect others from similar experiences.

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Heidi suffered years of abuse in her home by her mother, father and brother

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Heidi grew up in a large family. For as far back as she can remember she was physically and mentally abused by her mother. 

After her mother violently attacked her father, he began sexually abusing Heidi.

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Young people over the age of consent are still vulnerable, says Monica

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Monica was in her mid-teens and had just started sixth form when she entered into what she thought was a ‘relationship’ with a teacher at her school.

She recalls how flattered she was by the attention; it was exciting, she says. She thinks that most teachers knew and that her abuser was told to end the affair by the senior staff. He didn’t, and no other action was taken, and she stayed in his class.

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Hayley was abused multiple times in care and felt abused all over again by the justice system

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Hayley says her parents ‘did not want me’ and her father was physically abusive. She and her sisters spent their childhoods in and out of care, where she suffered more mistreatment. She thinks now that she would have been safer if she had stayed at home with her father.

She remembers that, as a young child, she was sexually abused in one children’s home by a male member of staff, David. Every week for a about year he took her to a different part of the home to ’do things’. Sometimes he was joined by another man.

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Groomed and sexually abused at prep school, Lawrence is frustrated that the headteacher was not stopped

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Lawrence was sexually abused as a young boy by Stanley, the headmaster of the preparatory school he attended.

He says he could not tell anyone about the abuse. The school was old-fashioned in attitude and offered no pastoral care. In any case, Stanley’s offending seemed to be an open secret. Lawrence believes that many people, including parents of pupils, knew what was going on but no one did anything.

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Home was not a safe haven for Lynne, but a place where she was regularly abused by her own father

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Lynne grew up in a military family, and regular house moves added to her sense of insecurity. She is now a campaigner for survivors of child sexual abuse.

Her father began to sexually abuse Lynne, the oldest of three children, before she was school age. This continued until she was in her mid-teens. She says her mother was aware of the abuse but did nothing to stop it. ‘She was a very weak woman’, says Lynne, ‘a victim too, in a way’. 

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Keith lives with the pain of being sexually abused in a children’s home, made worse by not being believed

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Keith was placed in a children’s home for three years during the 1970s. He experienced sexual, physical and emotional abuse from staff and other children residing at the home.

An older boy, Brian, sexually abused Keith on three occasions. Brian was also a minor and Keith suspected that he was in an inappropriate relationship with the adult house mother at the home.

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30 years after she was raped by a teacher, Jackie reported it to the police

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Jackie was doing well at school, socially and academically, until an event happened that had devastating consequences on her life. When she was in her early teens a teacher at her school raped her and it was 30 years before she was able to report it to the police.

The rape had a profoundly negative and lasting effect on her life, and she has clear views on how investigation processes and the judicial system could be improved to support victims more effectively.

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