Addy's story

Addy doesn’t remember much from her early childhood, but now knows that her father sexually abused her from the time she was a baby in the 1930s. At two years of age she was placed with her siblings into a children’s home in a regional town. She never saw her parents again.

After several months, Addy was separated from her brothers and was sent to a receiving home in another town. She liked disappearing from the property and roaming the streets during the day, but she always returned for dinner. However, the workers disliked her misbehaviour.

When she was 12 Addy was sent to a girls’ home as punishment. Up until that point Addy had never had an education, and so found school difficult. She was eager to learn, but she spent more time cleaning the home than doing school work. Some workers of the home were nice, others not so much.

The superintendent, Duncan White, was an older man with an intense personality. White had a habit of walking around the home and watching the girls in the bathroom. Addy was aware of his reputation and went out of her way to avoid him, but she wasn’t always successful.

‘I knew what sex was, what men did to women, and I was scared so I ran away.’

Addy was sexually abused by White for two years. If she managed to run away from him, he would catch up and physically punish her instead. She remembers receiving a black eye countless times.

When she was 13, she told the matron of the home about White. She hoped that the matron would help her but nothing was done.

At 14 Addy was dismissed from the home and got a job at the local factory. She met her husband when she was working there and fell pregnant with her first child, then married him and had several more children.

Throughout her adulthood, Addy has had trouble sleeping and would often rely on sleeping pills. She is easily stressed and finds it hard to concentrate.

Addy never received a proper education, which affected her career choices. Her husband’s mental health deteriorated after he returned from the war, which put a strain on her and her family.

Addy’s first disclosure was to a support group in the late 2000s. She then told her family and then the Royal Commission, but has no plans to report her perpetrator to the police or take legal action against the home.

Being a part of the support group has helped Addy significantly, and she was able to re-visit the home when she was in her sixties with other survivors. ‘They got through, we get through.’

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