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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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Janet’s brother would try to comfort her after their foster father sexually abused her

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Janet says her life is ‘dysfunctional’ due to the violence and sexual abuse she experienced as a child, and feels let down by the police and social services.

When she and her brothers were very young, their parents separated. Unable to look after his children, her father asked a family member to care for them. After a few years of instability, the siblings were placed in foster care where they remained until around they were around 18 years old.

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Otto says it feels strange to report abuse from decades ago … ‘it feels like you should be ok now’

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Otto was raped and sexually abused by his father for five years. 

He was seen by medical professionals but, he says, the culture of the 1960s was ‘somehow tolerant of abuse’ and no one helped him.

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Archie wonders if he would have been a ‘better person’ had he been allowed an innocent childhood

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Archie vividly recalls feeling ‘abandoned’ at the age of six years when he was sent to boarding school by his parents.

With little family involvement in his life, he was vulnerable to sexual abuse by a predatory and perverted teacher. For more than 50 years he has been trying to cope with the mental, physical and emotional damage caused by the abuse.

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Cornelia was abused by the woman her mum trusted to care for her child while she was at work

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Cornelia says that in some ways her early life was ‘nice’ – she was not neglected and she always had a clean school uniform.

But her mother’s relationships left her vulnerable to abusers – male and female.

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The priest who abused Greg groomed his family first, and then fought the civil case he eventually brought

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Greg came from a very ‘church going’ background. His family moved to a new house in a small town and became involved with the clergy at the church.

When a new priest, Ken, joined their church, Greg's parents took him under their wing. Ken was a regular visitor and often ate with the family.

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Martine says she has ‘a sense of shame’ about the abuse she endured throughout her young life

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Martine’s mother had several children when she was very young, and was unable to look after them. 

Martine and her siblings spent their early childhood in different care placements. She was subjected to sexual abuse by several different residents and members of staff. 

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Aalia feels she was traumatised a second time by the criminal justice system

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Years of sexual abuse that began when she was a small girl led Aalia to obsessively self‑harm. Years later she endured the ordeal of multiple trials.

Aalia was around seven or eight years old when she started going to the local mosque with her sibling. Soon she began going on her own, arriving early and waiting downstairs. A new mosque representative noticed her and suggested she should say her prayers early in his quarters. She thought this odd but agreed. He would stand next to her and compliment her. This went on for a few weeks.

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Nobody believed Leanne the first time she was abused, and this made it hard to report subsequent abuse

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Leanne has been sexually abused by three different males. She had mixed experiences dealing with the police.

Leanne and her brothers were brought up by her mother – their father was not in their lives. The first person who abused Leanne was her older brother, who started coming into her bedroom and touching her when she was in her early teens.

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Having seen her care records, Carol cannot believe that they did not see what was going on

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Carol was put on the child protection register due to neglect. She was sexually abused by men of two generations in her foster family and subsequently by staff and residents in a care home. She tried to tell social workers about the sexual abuse but was never believed.

Carol’s dad had left their family home and her mum used to leave her on her own to go to the pub, often returning drunk with men.

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Heidi suffered years of abuse in her home by her mother, father and brother

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Heidi grew up in a large family. For as far back as she can remember she was physically and mentally abused by her mother. 

After her mother violently attacked her father, he began sexually abusing Heidi.

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Curtis remembers how he felt when he was eight: ‘no one spoke a single kind word to me, ever’

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Curtis spent almost his entire childhood in care, during the 1950s and 60s. As a young child he was moved from a residential nursery to a care home which he describes as ‘the most miserable place on the planet’.

Isolated from his family and not knowing what had happened to his mother, he faced years of physical and sexual abuse with no one to turn to.

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After his traumatic early life, Lyndon finds solace in writing poetry and drawing

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Lyndon says he has felt abandoned all his life. 

From a young age, he was neglected and left vulnerable to sexual abuse. 

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