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IICSA published its final Report in October 2022. This website was last updated in January 2023.



Brinda made a big effort at home and at school to hide any signs she was being sexually abused

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Brinda was raised in a strict family with traditional South Asian values.

She thinks the man who raped her relied on the fact she would not tell anyone because of her background.

Brinda grew up in the 1990s and 2000s. Her father was a businessman and would often entertain associates and friends at home.

One of these guests began visiting the house when Brinda’s father was away on business. 

Brinda says this man was nice to her, but soon he began sexually abusing her, touching her and making her touch him. When she was 13 years old, he raped her. 

The abuser continued doing this for about 18 months, until he moved abroad. Brinda says her mother was in the house a few times while he abused her, but Brinda does not think she was aware of what was happening.

Brinda did not feel she could tell her parents about the abuse. ‘I come from a very traditional family. The expectation was I would have an arranged marriage. Sex before marriage was not a “thing”’ she says.

She believes that the man who raped her was confident she would not report him. ‘Knowing our family background as he did, made it pretty certain I wasn’t going to say anything’ she says.

At school, Brinda says, ‘I was a very conscientious straight A student. I wonder if this is one of the reasons it was not picked up, because I did so well’.

She adds that she went to private school, and that possibly a lot of people would think ‘nothing like that would happen here’.

However, after her father’s friend started abusing her, she says ‘I became very quiet … from being very chatty, very talkative to somebody who didn't speak much at all’. She remembers that some teachers commented on this. She used to play in a few of the school sports teams, but stopped wanting to take part and sometimes got into trouble for this.

Brinda then made a conscious effort to hide what was going on, and started joining in with sports again. ‘I suppose I was scared and I quite liked having this image of being a very conscientious student … I didn’t want that persona to be disrupted … I wasn't somebody who needed help, I just did well’ she says.

While she was studying for a career in dentistry, her mental health began to deteriorate. She had problems sleeping, became very anxious and started having flashbacks of the abuse.

‘I really fell apart. I couldn’t leave my house’ she says. 

In considerable distress, Brinda contacted a support helpline. After a misunderstanding about the timeframe of the abuse, the information was passed to her GP and then to her course tutors.

A few weeks later, Brinda was called before a fitness to practise panel. She was allowed to continue with the course on condition she had counselling. She says ‘This was fine, it was probably what I needed’. However, she found the hearing distressing. 

She still has to inform all potential employers that she attended a fitness to practise panel and the reason why. ‘It has always felt a bit unfair’ she says. 

Her parents don’t know about the breakdown Brinda had at university, or the abuse. ‘I don’t think they’d take it very well’ she says.

Brinda would like to see improved safeguarding training that goes beyond a ‘tick box exercise’. She says ‘At university when safeguarding came up we were taught to look out for certain behaviours, and I do wonder if that means some people get missed’.

She adds that it is important for everyone to be aware that abuse can occur in all walks of life.

She entered into an arranged marriage while she was still at university. She believes she may have resisted this if she had not suffered from the abuse. ‘I wasn’t happy about it’ she says. She has not told her husband she was sexually abused.

Brinda still suffers with anxiety, flashbacks and depression, but says that having a career is helpful.

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