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Macy was taken to a GP with genital injuries, but sexual abuse was not picked up

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Macy was sexually abused by a relative when she was a very young child, and later, by two girls at school.

She was taken to a doctor with bleeding and urine infections, but the abuse was not picked up.

Macy’s earliest memory is of being taken to her grandfather’s study on the pretext of him reading her a story. She remembers him unfastening his trousers and making her hold his penis. She also remembers him putting his penis in her mouth, and how it made her gag.

She believes her parents were completely unaware of the abuse, but says they no longer have contact with her grandfather.

When Macy was seven, an older girl from the same school befriended her. The girl began showing Macy pictures of dolls in various sexual positions, and then pornography. Another girl got involved and the behaviour escalated into sexual ‘truth or dare’ type games, but Macy was only allowed to do the ‘dares’. 

These began with flashing and kissing, then proceeded to simulated sex and oral sex. Macy was penetrated by various objects. She remembers how painful this was, and she sometimes bled as a result.

Macy says she did try to object but was powerless to prevent it. She was frequently threatened by the girl and was fearful of those threats. She now believes that the girl was also being sexually abused.  

This abuse continued until Macy was 13. She was taken to her doctor due to the bleeding and had tests for infections, but apparently abuse was not considered to be the cause. 

From a young age, Macy says, she was very withdrawn. She suffered from nightmares and regularly wet the bed. She remembers feeling guilty that the abuse was somehow her fault. As a teenager, she found it difficult to make friends with other girls, and even now, the majority of her friends are male. She dislikes being touched and has avoided physical intimacy.

Macy suggests that children need to be taught about inappropriate touching. She also thinks that the medical profession should always act if they have suspicions about abuse, and that teachers need to be able to report suspicions, without worrying that they will be blamed in some way if they are wrong.

She says she did well at school because she immersed herself in work as a distraction. When she went to university, Macy managed to get counselling, and still works with a counsellor. 

Macy has found comfort in her faith, and in the fact that her pastor is aware of her experiences and is continuing to try to help her. 

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