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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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Richie says victims and survivors may have conflicting feelings about the people who abused them

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Richie was bullied at school and his mother intervened on his behalf.

A charismatic teacher exploited his vulnerability and sexually abused him for several years.

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Prompted by news about the football and Savile cases, Dan spoke for the first time after more than 60 years

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Dan was born during the war. His mother was a single parent and he was adopted at birth by a couple whom he describes as ‘lovely’ parents, and he says he had ‘a great childhood’.

Sadly his adoptive father died when Dan was still young. He suspects that the lack of a father figure in his life made him vulnerable to the sexual abuse he was subjected to by a Scout leader.

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Mabon says that he feels ‘awful and empty’ but hopes sharing his experience may help others

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Mabon was returned home from a foster placement to his mother and stepfather, who was sexually abusing him.

He feels strongly there should be stricter checks on parents and adoptive parents.

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Benen says ‘I know if I don’t get this out of my head it will destroy me … I just had to tell someone’

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Benen was brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness. This isolated him at school and made him a target for bullying.

It also made him vulnerable to grooming and sexual abuse by two much older men.

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Woody has moved on from his past and is proud of what he has achieved

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Woody says that his parents were from ‘good backgrounds’ but after they separated his dad moved far away and his mum started abusing drugs. 

His mother lived a chaotic life which left him vulnerable to sexual abusers.

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Charmaine is grateful her children have a ‘wonderful father’ and won’t go through what she did

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Because of her father’s career, Charmaine and her family moved house every year.

She thinks this transient lifestyle led to her and her brothers being isolated and made abuse by her father easy to hide. 

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Mary is still haunted by the trauma of sexual abuse by her older brother

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Mary has made great efforts to deal with the trauma of sexual abuse by her older brother, but it continues to haunt her.

Mary feels her experiences have wrecked her relationships and knows that she is exceptionally protective of her child. She says: ‘I feel my life would have taken a totally different path if I hadn’t been abused.’

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Ruby says ‘You can be different people in a lifetime, I think, if you are given the chance’

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As a young girl Ruby suffered cruelty and abuse in her home at the hands of her stepfather. She describes how she has worked at recovering and says she feels lucky.

She says ‘It is really important to get people to voice things ... there is a need to recognise that you are a victim but that it isn’t your fault’.

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The police said sexual abuse of Lexi by teenage boys was ‘experimenting’

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When she was about 18 months old, Lexi’s father took her from her mother and they moved into a block of flats.

The father of another family sexually abused Lexi when she was a small child. As a young teenager, she suffered further sexual abuse from teenage neighbours. The police dismissed her as an unreliable witness.

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Maddox says his mantra is ‘I shouldn’t be ashamed – the secret is the perpetrator’s, not mine’

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Maddox was educated at a prestigious Catholic boarding school during the 1970s. 

He was a high-achieving pupil until his life was devastated by sexual abuse, perpetrated by a teacher.

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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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Maksud feels betrayed that the man who abused him was a revered figure in his community

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Maksud was sexually abused by a religious leader.

He hopes that speaking out about this might help to address the stigma and shame that he says too often silences victims of abuse in his community. 

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