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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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Gianna is Deaf, and was punished if she tried to use sign language at her mainstream school

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Gianna is Deaf and so is her mother. 

As a child, she couldn’t communicate easily and was not able to tell anyone that she was being sexually abused.

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Adela says that people who have been through trauma may not have perfect recall

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Adela feels that she was failed by people in authority who should have protected her from abuse. 

She would like everyone to understand that people who have been through trauma may not have perfect recall.

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Ronan says it is important to him to be believed about what happened 50 years ago

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Ronan says that from an early age, he was seen as a ‘problem child’ and was sent to live with relatives. 

When his older cousin sexually abused him, he was punished for complaining about it and told he was lying.

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Sexual abuse during childhood had many damaging impacts for Julianna that she is striving to overcome

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Julianna had a difficult early childhood. He struggled with learning difficulties and hyperactivity. As a very young boy he was taken to see a doctor regarding an eating disorder and behavioural problems.

Julianna loved his mother and felt very close to her, but his parents had difficulty dealing with him. When he was eight years old they offered him the chance to go to boarding school and he readily agreed.

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Solange came to the Truth Project to report something that others might not feel is significant

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The experience of being ‘groped’ by an adult man when she was 12 years old has stayed with Solange. 

Since her daughter reached the same age, she has felt increasingly troubled and angry about it.

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Claudia and her siblings were subjected to extreme violence, sexual abuse and control by their father

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After the violence, control and sexual abuse was reported, several adults said they were ‘not surprised’.

Claudia grew up in a very large family. She says that her father kept his children isolated from friends and family, telling them that ‘the only safe place is home’.

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Laakia believes that when she was being abused, she showed ‘clues after clues, but no one understood’

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Laakia was sexually and physically abused by her father throughout her childhood.

She was treated in hospital for injuries, and says her behaviour at school became ‘feral’, but no one picked up that she was being abused.

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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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Cole says ‘If just one person had listened to me ...’

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As a child, Cole was subjected to appalling physical cruelty by his father. 

After his mother left home, Cole’s new stepmother sexually abused him, but no one would believe this was happening.

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Douglas says ‘Victims need justice – it is not about money’

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Douglas describes a childhood of bullying, fear and sexual abuse at the hands of those who should have cared for and protected him.

As a young boy, Douglas sustained a brain injury. As a result, his behaviour changed and his mother found it hard to manage him. She approached social services and Douglas was placed in a residential assessment centre. He remembers trying to run away on the day he first arrived and being placed alone in a secure cell.

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Samuel’s family were part of a religion where everything was about control, manipulation and gratification

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Samuel was born into a religious organisation, which he describes as a cult, that subjected him to sexual, physical and mental abuse.

He says the organisation focused selectively on parts of the Bible concerning discipline and, in his opinion, took this to the extreme. He describes life as ‘harsh’ for him and the other children in the religious group.

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Katie-Leigh says she let people hurt her in the hope one of them would love her

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Katie-Leigh grew up in the 1970s. Her father was in the armed forces.

He sexually abused Katie-Leigh and this set her on a self-destructive path that began with her taking an overdose at the age of seven.

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