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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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Gemma says ‘I’m the one who’s doing the life sentence, in a way’

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Gemma had an exceptionally difficult childhood. Neglect and domestic violence occurred regularly in the family home, so much so that all her older siblings were placed into care. 

Gemma’s mother had a mental mental illness and continued to neglect her youngest child until Gemma too was taken into care and fostered before she was two years old.

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Jason’s uncle exploited his need for affection, and sexually abused him for over a decade

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Jason describes a ‘neglectful, difficult and violent’ early childhood with his parents. 

He was removed from the family home into the care of his uncle, but his uncle sexually abused him throughout the rest of his childhood until he was in his late teens.

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When Marita’s father died, a teacher exploited her vulnerability to abuse her

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At the age of 13, Marita was distraught when her father died. 

A teacher at her secondary school used her distress and grief as an opportunity to groom and sexually abuse her.

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Paul was sexually abused by his mother and has been diagnosed with PTSD and borderline personality disorder

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Paul had no recollection of the abuse he suffered as a very young child until he was in his late 30s. At that stage he had some psychotic episodes. His memory is now very fragmented.

He has been dealing with these issues for many years. Now he has disclosed them and received help he wants to ‘put things on the record’.

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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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Wynne says the abuse he suffered might ‘seem small’ but it has affected his whole life

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Wynne was sexually abused by a teacher during a school outing. 

His mother told him not to tell anyone, and he was sent back to school where the abuser intimidated him.

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Nell finds it difficult to discuss sexual abuse, but says ‘We all need to talk about it’

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A neighbour in his 40s started sexually abusing Nell when she was about eight years old. 

When Nell tried to talk about what was happening, her mother said she was copying a storyline from a television soap opera.

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All the people who could have protected Sharan from sexual abuse let her down

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Sharan was told by her mother that she should not walk round in her nightclothes to avoid being sexually abused by her stepfather.

Professionals involved with the family failed to act on reports and signs that she was being abused.

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Dorothy says ‘It’s like my memories don’t exist. That’s worse than the abuse!’

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Dorothy describes how from a very young age she endured fear and humiliation, along with physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

As an adult, she feels she is still suffering an equally painful ordeal because her account has not been taken seriously.

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Suranne thinks that education about sexual abuse is the key so ‘kids are more likely to speak up’

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Suranne often stayed with her grandmother. A man who lived nearby sexually abused her over many years.

When she told her GP, it was noted down as a ‘sex problem’.

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Hayden gave a statement to the police after he was sexually abused, but did not hear from them again

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Hayden was sexually abused by the son of his father’s partner.

At the age of 10, he was interviewed by the police, but no one explained to him why the investigation did not proceed. 

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A ‘friend’ who acted as a father figure to Stephen was in fact grooming him for sexual abuse

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Stephen was 10 when his father left the family home. 

He was devastated by this loss, and his longing to be close to a father figure made him vulnerable to an abuser.

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