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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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Max has worried he is being ‘over-dramatic’ about the impact of being sexually abused

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Max grew up in the years after the Second World War ended. He says that his parents were not neglectful, but ‘not that interested’. He adds that his ‘old-fashioned’ grammar school considered that ‘children should be seen and not heard’.

He has questioned why he did not tell anyone that he was being sexually abused by his uncle, but says he now realises that nobody recognised sexual abuse at that time.

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No one asked Liam why he kept running away when he was placed in a children’s home

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Liam was taken into care in the early 1970s because his mother was unable to look after him. 

He was sexually abused by his social worker. In recent years, other victims have come forward and the man has been charged with several offences.

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Now happy and successful, Sonia was sexually abused by her brother and failed by the police

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Sonia describes herself as a happily married mother and a successful businesswoman, with an active family life full of laughter. She is a trustworthy and loyal friend and has a sarcastic sense of humour.

Of least importance to Sonia is that she is a victim of child sexual abuse. She listed this last as, whilst she knows that the abuse has affected and shaped certain aspects of her, it does not define her.

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Jay was a small child when he was sexually abused, but he feels guilty he didn’t do more to stop it

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It is more than 60 years since Jay was sexually abused by a school teacher. 

He has only recently told his wife about it, and decided to share his experience because he feels increasingly worried about sexual abuse happening to other children.

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Dougal became a drug addict after he was sexually abused, but says he is doing well with his recovery

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Dougal opted to go into care permanently when he was 13 because he thought he would be safer there than in his family home. 

But in different children’s homes, he was physically abused by staff and sexually abused by an older boy.

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Roald says that just because abuse happened a long time ago, ‘it doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter’

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Roald kept the abuse he went through to himself for 50 years before he approached the police.

He feels very angry and upset at their response.

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Samantha always thought it was her fault when she was sexually abused

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The sexual abuse that Samantha endured as a child has had a devasting effect on her mental and physical health.

However, she still feels that her experience was ‘minor’ in comparison to others she has heard about.

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Kirk says the Truth Project is his ‘one chance to speak out ... it has taken me years to get this far’

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Kirk gives a powerful and distressing account of the sexual abuse he endured as a child, and the damage it has caused him.

The physical, mental and emotional repercussions have affected every aspect of his life and decades later, he lives with immense pain but is taking action to manage this.

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If she hadn’t told her mum she was sexually abused Tayla ‘ wouldn’t have known how little she cared about me’

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Tayla’s overwhelming childhood memory is of not being loved or cared for by her parents or brothers.

Her violent mother made it clear she did not want to hear about any of Tayla’s problems. This was confirmed by her response when Tayla tried to tell her she had been sexually abused.

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Millicent says ‘Being told that you are loved does not mean that the person loves you’

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Millicent loved music and her parents paid for her to have private lessons.

The tutor groomed her and raped her scores of times, while maintaining that he cared about her.

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As a survivor of sexual abuse, Wasiba now challenges the attitudes of men in her family

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Wasiba was brought up in a large Muslim family. When she was eight years old her father deserted them.

He had been violent towards Wasiba’s mother, and she says it was a relief to be away from him. But older male cousins and their friends began to sexually abuse her, threatening to tell her family if she disobeyed them.

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Dylan lost his faith when he was sexually abused by a curate, who was protected by the church

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Dylan grew up in a family of active church members. But the sexual abuse he and others were subjected to by a curate and the inadequate response from the church have caused him extreme distress and turned him away from his religion.

The sexual abuse happened to Dylan when he was a boy. In his teenage years, he saw a news report about his abuser, Jacob, who had been convicted of an offence against another boy. This prompted Dylan to disclose his own abuse to his parents.

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