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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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Tallulah says ‘For a long while I wasn't even sure if what happened to me was “proper” abuse’

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When Tallulah was a young teenager, she was sexually abused on holiday by a family friend.

She gives an eloquent account of how for a child under such circumstances, understanding abuse and boundaries can be very difficult and confusing.

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Lysa says deaf or hard of hearing victims and survivors need support that is tailored to their needs

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Lysa is deaf and throughout her childhood she was mocked and emotionally and sexually abused by one of her brothers.

She came to the Truth Project because she wanted to be heard and believed. 

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Dawn calls for restorative justice and for sexual abusers to acknowledge their guilt

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Many years of regular sexual abuse, that began when she was nine years old, have left Dawn with a long-term condition that continues to affect her life.

An attempt to get justice against the perpetrator was not successful and Dawn has an intense wish for him to acknowledge the impact of his actions.

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Almudena did not want to say in front of her mother that she was being sexually abused

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As a young child, Almudena had to care for her mother who had physical and mental health problems.

She was sexually abused by two men. Social workers were involved with the family, but she never saw them on her own and did not feel able to tell them what was happening to her.

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Esther says she feels like a failure for not being able to recall fully what happened to her

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Esther relates that she struggled with depression during her childhood and adolescence and was bewildered as to why she felt that way. It was decades later that memories of sexual abuse returned to her, and she began to understand the reason for her unhappiness.

Esther describes growing up in an ‘idyllic’ rural village with her parents and an older brother. She says she was very studious at school and something of a ‘loner’.

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Natasha says ‘Abusers can be anybody. Mine was a babysitter and a man I called uncle’

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Nathasha’s father was an alcoholic and during her childhood and adolescence she was concerned for her mother. 

When her mother went on her weekly night out, the older girls who babysat for Natasha sexually abused her. A few years later, an older male neighbour did the same. Natasha did not tell her mother until many years later.

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Diana would love to be free of the impact of her abuse but feels it is like an ‘internal tattoo’

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Diana was fostered from a very early age. She was put in a long-term placement with a couple who also fostered on a short-term basis.

Ill-treatment and abuse at the hands of the foster parents have caused her a lifetime of physical and mental health problems.

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Corey was sexually abused and raped in his home by a teenage girl

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Corey was sexually abused and raped in his home by a teenage girl. It began when he was a young boy who had no idea about sex – ‘just a baby’ he says.

The abuse caused him immense distress, confusion and revulsion and has had huge repercussions on his life.

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Ryan is angrier with the lack of care from boarding school than with his abuser, who was another student

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Ryan went to a boarding school, which was elitist and very sport oriented. But, he says, he did not excel at sport; he was a timid child who was always the last one chosen for the teams, and he was bullied at this school.

Ryan recalls how one day he went for a run and when he came back to his dormitory one of the slightly older pupils, a captain of several of the school teams, sat on top of him and started playing with him. He was around 16 at the time.

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Kristopher felt that abuse was a ‘normal’ part of the school environment

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Kristopher was educated in Catholic schools in the 1960s. 

He describes a regime of physical and psychological bullying and abuse run by staff, and an older pupil who sexually abused younger boys.

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Ashleigh’s experiences with the police made her feel there was ‘no point’ reporting sexual abuse

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Ashleigh was raped when she was nine years old. 

She didn’t understand what had happened to her, and she was just as confused by the police investigation that followed

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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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