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



It took more than 40 years for Hurriya to understand the impact abuse had on her life

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Hurriya was about five or six years old when she was sexually abused by a male teacher, Mr A, at her primary school. 

Her experiences led her into a number of abusive relationships, but her growing self-awareness, supported by therapy, has helped her realise how she has been affected by the abuse.

Hurriya was at primary school in the 1970s. She says that for many years, her recollection of the abuse was that it only happened once, but she later realised it had occurred several times. She remembers that it always happened in a temporary building away from the main school. 

She also recalls that Mr A had a beard, and she guesses he was in his 20s. The abuse stopped when her family moved away from the area in the late 1970s.

Hurriya didn’t tell anyone about the abuse at the time. She says ‘I didn’t have the sort of family life where you could talk about these things’. She adds ‘nobody really believed children back then’. 

Hurriya now understands the impact that being sexually abused as a child has had on her throughout her life. She feels the abuse set a pattern and made her a target for controlling men. She had several abusive relationships and a lot of sexual encounters that she didn’t want. When she was in her 20s, she didn’t know how to say no. 

For many years, Hurriya thought she was coping very well. She says ‘You move on with your life … bury it’. 

But a relationship with another abusive man opened up memories for her. She began feeling low and struggled with her mental health.  

Hurriya has been seeing a therapist for a few years. She has talked about the abuse and considered reporting Mr A. However, she knows that when he was abusing her, he had two young children and feels concerned about the effect it might have on them if she disclosed the abuse.  

Hurriya has difficulties with family relationships. She explains that she has ‘a fighting front’ that she puts on for other people, but it is not a true reflection of who she is. She says ‘I feel like I’ve been fighting all my life for survival’ and adds that she is tired of having to do this.

However, she says that she has some good friends who support her, and she is not embarrassed any more.

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