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

IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Final report

F.4: “It was guilt, blame and shame”

15. A number of victims and survivors said that they were blamed for having been sexually abused. This was frequently related to sexist or homophobic attitudes. When Lorelai told her mother that she had been sexually abused by a man, her mother said: “you must have encouraged him … the way you dressed”.[1] Adelyn was accused of trying to “seduce” the man who had sexually abused her as a child in the 2000s. She said she was portrayed as a “whore”.[2] One Forum member was told that his being sexually abused “was a result of being homosexual”.[3] Another Truth Project participant described the reaction of his brother to the fact that he was sexually abused:

He’s like, ‘he’s the “gay boy” and “cock boy” … He’s saying what happened to me was my fault, I asked for it … ”.[4]

Truth Project participant

16. Other victims and survivors were blamed for having got the sexual abuser ‘in trouble’. Sarah was blamed by her local community for being sexually abused by a married man. As a result, Sarah felt that she “had corrupted older men and was responsible for a marriage break-up” and that “I deserved the hate from the community”.[5] As a child in the early 2000s, CS-A12 said that the police blamed her when they found her in a car with the men who were sexually exploiting her: “They’d turn around to us and say … ‘You’re going to get the drivers into trouble with your behaviour’”.[6]

17. Victims and survivors often explained that being blamed as a child for having been sexually abused had a significant and long-lasting impact on their life and their recovery from child sexual abuse. Evelyn described feelings of self-loathing and of having no right to be upset.[7] Diya said that it took her years “to understand I didn’t do anything wrong”.[8]

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