Skip to main content

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

G.3: “I rescued myself, that’s who rescued me”

6. Victims and survivors said that coping with the impact of child sexual abuse helped them appreciate their resilience.

7. For some victims and survivors, recovering from the trauma of child sexual abuse created inner strength, “competence and self-reliance”.[1] Michelle said: “my experiences have made me a very strong and independent person – a lot of my life I had to fend for myself”.[2]

8. A number of victims and survivors emphasised that their experiences of child sexual abuse did not “define” the rest of their life.[3] Nita said that “it has had an impact … it has not defined me”.[4] Some described this as a conscious decision. Kaye said: “I will not let the bad experiences of my life define me. But they are a part of what I am … I am proud of myself for surviving”.[5] Vivien reflected on the assumptions people make about victims of sexual abuse:

I see myself as a whole person with positive traits … I’ve got some difficulties and challenges that I’ve been able to process and work through and still live a very functional life … I don’t want to be seen as somebody dysfunctional or have assumptions made about me.[6]

Vivien, Truth Project participant

9. Some victims and survivors highlighted their positive attitude to life despite experiencing child sexual abuse. Catriona said she was proud to be a positive person.[7] Others described the importance of acknowledging past trauma while recognising the positive: “It’s good to try to look at the positive things whilst acknowledging the past hasn’t been great”.[8]

10. Victims and survivors sometimes felt that their experiences gave them an enhanced sense of empathy. Max said that while he felt angry about being sexually abused, it has made him empathise with children who experience difficulties.[9] Some described how they have chosen to help other victims and survivors. Victims and survivors commonly said that supporting others in turn assisted their own journey towards recovery. Robert said that supporting children as a family therapist enabled him to turn “something that happened that was awful into something that was … bringing good”.[10]

Back to top