It is five days now since I held Mary Farrell’s hand in the witness box of the Royal Commission into Institutional Abuse of Children while she gave evidence about the abuse she suffered at the hands of those who, as a child, were employed to care for her.
As she said by twelve years of age she felt she had a brand on her forehead saying “rape me”.
Re-living those times for me has been hard. Although I did not suffer anywhere near like those children suffered, the pain I felt when they told me their stories and the anger I felt at our society for not caring enough to make sure those individuals were removed and punished floods my body to this day.
This morning began with Mary ringing to tell me how traumatising for her giving the evidence had been and how it brought back all those feelings and actions of self harm. Once again, I feel the aloneness in the realisation of how cruel and uncaring our society can be.
I know some of these feelings I will take with me to my grave. There is some consolation in the fact that now we are being believed about what happened then. I hope and pray the justice that should have been metered out then, is metered out now, up to and over forty years too late. What happened to those children destroyed their lives forever and they will be spending the rest of their days in an attempt to put something together out of all the broken pieces.
I went to Kings Cross a naive, young former electrical engineer thinking that cruelty existed “out there” not realising that we in our own society could allow cruelty to be inflicted on our own young because we simply did not care enough to look after the kids who needed us most.
In my own way I feel as rejected as they do because when I tried, like those children did to tell their stories, no-one in authority wanted to know. That included the churches, the NGOs and the Government.
Isn’t it ironic that I a male, of the gender that abused so many of these kids in the first place, would be asked to hold their hand whilst they gave evidence?
As I said in an earlier blog the only time I see representatives of so called “caring” agencies in the Royal Commission listening audience is when those institutions or churches are being “outed” for what they allowed to happen.
For me it is very alienating to feel part of a structure that allowed so much serial abuse to happen.
Don’t believe they didn’t know – they did, because I told them.
I find I have always worked with children and people who fall through the cracks of our society. In a way that means I slip through the cracks too and believe me it is a very vulnerable and difficult space in which to live.