Story from Lean on me by Tor Roxburg and the Lean on me sexual assault support group
I was twelve or thirteen when I was abused. I’m eighteen now. It was just once, thank god. It was a fella from Melbourne. He came and asked me to go camping-and being young, naïve person, I went. There was him and four other boys who he’d been abusing for a few years. After the camp- when I got home- I didn’t worry about it. I mean, I worried about it, but I didn’t tell anybody. About five or six weeks later, the police knocked on the door and said, ‘We’re here to see Martin.’ Straight away, I knew what they came for. I just burst into tears and my parents freaked right out. They didn’t know what was going on. Dad was pretty upset because he’d let me go camping: it stirred him up for a couple of months.
I made a couple of statements to the police. I changed the first one because I was that upset I couldn’t say everything I wanted to say, so we scrapped it and tore it up. I made another one which said exactly the same thing in more detail so the fella would get convicted. I was lucky because if the statements made by the other four boys hadn’t matched up with mine, I would have had to go to court to tell my story, but they were basically the same. It was a whole year before I found out that he had been convicted and put in jail. He only got five years. What a waste of time! He’d been convicted about three or four years beforehand, and he went jail for six months that time, but he only got a lousy five years. Five years for wrecking the lives of five kids. They should have put him in there to rot.
My parents were pretty upset when they found out I’d been sexually abused. Dad more than mum, because three years before, when they were camping, this same fella came down to talk to us. Three years later, he just turned up on the doorstep asking if I wanted to go camping. It was like he’d been keeping track of how old I was.
Mum said I couldn’t go but dad couldn’t see why not. The fella told them he’d come back just before he was leaving to see if they’d let me go. When he came back, mum wasn’t there and dad said it was OK for me to go. Dad was mad with himself for not thinking. Mum’s a very cautious person. She was suspicious but didn’t bother to say anything to me, otherwise I would have changed my mind. I was just rapt to be going because I love camping.
I was lucky that it was a one-off for me-well, a couple of days in a row. The other people with him had been abused for years on end; every Christmas and Easter. I think I probably would have killed myself or something worse.
Well, they say that every cloud has a silver lining and after it happened to me, I got involved with Lean On Me. I’ve done many things at Lean On Me and I’ve been rewarded for it. I was awarded ‘Young Citizen of the Year’ from the council. There are a lot of other good things, of course.
Sexual abuse is an experience that I wouldn’t want to live through again, but I’ve survived, and in a way-a very little way-I’m glad, because it’s made me more mature. I’d like to be a sexual assault counsellor and help other children through the hard times. I know exactly what it’s like.