At first, Adrian’s participation in his local Melbourne scout group was positive. However, when he was around 10 years of age, he began to be sexually abused by leaders and older peers while away on camp.
The first time this happened was in the early 1980s. One of the leaders, Matthew, and two venturers (older scouts) in their mid-teens took Adrian into the bush. The boys restrained him while Matthew removed his pants, photographed his genitals – ‘and then started to fondle’.
This incident only lasted a short time because Adrian lashed out. ‘When they pulled my pants down I guess I was shocked for a couple of minutes there. Then I just started kicking.’
On a later camp a group of scouts including Adrian were gathered in a tent with Matthew, who ‘got everyone to try and masturbate each other, like in a circle motion’. Adrian was extremely uncomfortable with this and ran out with one of the other boys.
He did not report either incident at the time, being embarrassed and ashamed and not knowing if it was something he should report.
‘I just thought it was part of the human thing you know, that’s what we did. We’re just animals. And I guess it still goes on today.’
After this he ‘pretty much became a rebel in the scout movement and eventually they kicked me out’. He still has not reported the abuse to the Scouts because he believes they will ‘sweep the matter under the carpet’, but intends to report it to police now.
As an adult, Adrian has had issues with alcohol and anger, which contributed to the breakdown of his marriage.
These problems have been exacerbated by the fact that a close relative had sexually abused his own daughter, and his sisters before this. This person is now incarcerated, but Adrian still feels guilty for not being able to protect his family members.