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Survivors' voices

Experiences shared

These are some of the experiences of child sexual abuse shared with the Truth Project by victims and survivors. All names and identifying details have been changed.

Download a PDF sample of accounts

Karyn, sexually abused by her stepfather and his sons, wants the lasting effects of abuse to be recognised

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When her mother’s boyfriend, Brian, moved into the family home, Karyn’s childhood was devastated by terror and physical and sexual violence.

She is still enduring the severe effects of this trauma on every aspect of her health and wellbeing.

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Shawn says of the man who abused him ‘He’s not here to defend himself, but I am telling the truth’

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Rumours circulated about the behaviour of the teacher who was sexually abusing Shawn, but no action was taken.

He left to work at another school, and was later convicted of child sexual abuse.

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Mercy was seen as a ‘problem child’ and no one believed she was being sexually abused

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Mercy grew up neglected in a violent home. 

Social workers and teachers did not listen or believe her when she tried to tell them about the abuse.

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Martine says she has ‘a sense of shame’ about the abuse she endured throughout her young life

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Martine’s mother had several children when she was very young, and was unable to look after them. 

Martine and her siblings spent their early childhood in different care placements. She was subjected to sexual abuse by several different residents and members of staff. 

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Despite his horrendous childhood, Jaden has worked in his community to support troubled youngsters

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Following the death of his father, Jaden was left at the mercy of a succession of brutal abusers in the care system.

It is painful for him to relate the harrowing experiences he endured as a child, and the effect they had on him. 

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A television interview with a survivor of sexual abuse triggered distressing memories for Chester

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Chester was sexually abused when he was 11, by a Scout leader. 

He buried memories of the abuse for more than 30 years and spoke about it in detail for the first time when he came to the Truth Project.

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Caryl’s father said to her ‘There’s no point you telling anyone … no one’s going to believe you’

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Caryl was sexually abused by her father, who was a religious preacher and respected in the community.

When senior members of the religious group were told about his behaviour by her mother, the only action they took was to stop him working in the youth club.

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Doreen says ‘It would have been nice to be in a long relationship, but I can’t let anyone touch me’

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Doreen has vivid visual memories of the teacher who sexually abused her when she was a small child.

Her traumatic experiences have made it impossible for her to settle in a relationship, and she is sad about this.

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Albie says ‘Not being believed hurts more than anything’

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Albie was sexually abused by a Catholic priest.

His experiences have left him with an abhorrence of the power that the church holds over some communities.

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Darren says that being abused distorted his idea of what was ‘normal’ in relationships

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Darren was sexually abused as a child when he lived in military accommodation.

His behaviour deteriorated as a result, and because he was considered to be ‘bad’. He thought no one would believe him if he spoke about the abuse.

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Millicent says ‘Being told that you are loved does not mean that the person loves you’

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Millicent loved music and her parents paid for her to have private lessons.

The tutor groomed her and raped her scores of times, while maintaining that he cared about her.

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In the children’s home, Gerrard says, ‘No one ever smiled, it was all angry violent faces’

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As an unwanted baby, Gerrard spent his entire childhood and adolescence in children’s homes, where he suffered continual cruelty as well as physical and sexual abuse.

He says ‘I don’t think I discussed it once with any of my friends, even though it was happening to every single one of us’.

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