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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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Aryana says she is able ‘to feel free enough to live my own life now’

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For Aryana, taking part in the Truth Project marks a big step in her healing process. 

She was sexually abused by members of her family, and has had extensive therapy to come to terms with her experiences.

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Teagan says ‘I didn’t understand what had happened to me until I was much older’

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Teagan was sexually abused by her brother and his friend, who were six years older than her. The teenage boys also abused some of her friends.

The abuse began when she was nine years old and continued through her childhood. It has caused lasting damage to her family relationships and her mental health.

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Andrea calls for cultural mediators to work with ethnic minority families

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Andrea was born overseas and brought up in a large family. She says she was spoiled with presents and wanted for nothing.

When she was five years old, her parents moved to the UK, leaving her and her siblings in the care of a grandparent. She was so upset at being separated from her parents that after a time she was sent to join them in the UK.

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Liliana says ‘If you are caught in that web of abuse it is so difficult to get out – you need help’

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As a young teenager, Liliana had to cope with a fractured and insecure family life. 

Her school arranged for her to live with a clergyman as part of a mentoring scheme, but this man sexually abused her. 

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A ‘respectable’ man used his wealth and status to insinuate himself into Bradley’s family

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Bradley explains that his family had many reasons to trust the man who abused him. Perciville was a lay preacher with the Church of England and active in local Scouts and community groups. He was also a prosperous businessman who was generous to the hard-up family.

But Perciville began sexually abusing Bradley when he was nine years old, and continued to do so at every opportunity for the following six years.

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Albert says ‘I’ve tried to act as normal as possible. That may have been a mistake’

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Albert’s parents, who were very religious, sent him to a religious junior and secondary school because they wanted him to have a stable education. 

He describes a terrible culture of violence. Some of the church staff and brothers inflicted physical punishment and abuse on children, including some particularly vulnerable young boys.

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Darren says that being abused distorted his idea of what was ‘normal’ in relationships

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Darren was sexually abused as a child when he lived in military accommodation.

His behaviour deteriorated as a result, and because he was considered to be ‘bad’. He thought no one would believe him if he spoke about the abuse.

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Clyde kept the abuse he suffered to himself for many years, for fear of being labelled a paedophile

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Clyde grew up in the 1950s and 60s. He was neglected and physically abused by his family, and subjected to brutal regimes in the care system.

This made him vulnerable during his childhood and teenage years to serial sexual abuse and exploitation.

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Alistair is determined his children will have the childhood that was taken from him

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Alistair grew up in the countryside and describes his childhood as ‘idyllic’ but marred by a single incident of abuse.

He describes how he was unable to tell anyone what had happened and how it troubled him for many years, before he spoke to the Truth Project.

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Rachel says ‘All I needed was just one person to act’

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Rachel told several professional adults, and her mother, about the sexual abuse that she was suffering for seven years, but it wasn’t until she went to university that anyone listened to her.

Rachel’s father left the family home when she was about seven years old. She says she came back after an outing one day ‘and he was gone’. 

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Paige’s family said she was ‘disloyal’ for reporting sexual abuse by a relative

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Paige describes her family as ‘troubled’.

She was sexually abused by an uncle and a cousin, but at the time she did not understand that this was not a ‘normal’ way to show love for family members.

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A ‘horrendous’ experience in court for Thomas added to the trauma of being sexually abused

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Thomas and his brothers belonged to a local sports club and met people from other clubs at events. When the family moved house, the boys transferred to another club, chaired by a man called Robin who they already knew from sporting events.

Robin used his position of status in the club and the sport to sexually abuse Thomas.

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There are very limited circumstances where we tell anyone your name without your consent, for example if a child is currently at risk and we need to tell the police.