Brigitte grew up in a small town in New South Wales. The Anglican Church was very important in her family’s life and Reverend Francis Jaylan was always welcome in the home. He’d often bring his daughters so they could play with Brigitte.
One evening after dinner, Brigitte was sexually abused by Jaylan. She recalls him waiting for her to ‘finish up’ in the bathroom before taking her to her mother’s room. Jaylan touched her and then forced her to put her hand on his penis. Brigitte believes it would have escalated further if his daughter hadn’t walked in and interrupted them. Brigitte was 12 years old.
Shortly after, Reverend Jaylan and his family left town. She never saw him or his daughters again. Brigitte didn’t tell anyone about the abuse, and she was confused about what had happened, believing that she was ‘special’ and had been ‘touched by the hand of God’. These thoughts made her do things she ‘wasn’t proud of’.
She began to hide things from her parents and would often get in trouble at school, lying to her parents about it afterwards. She committed some offences throughout her teenage years and later stole money from her workplace as an adult. She said she was ‘not honest’ with money.
In the early 2000s, Brigitte saw an article in a church newsletter about Reverend Jaylan. It suggested that he had abused many children in different parishes. She said that reading this article was the first time she had acknowledged what Jaylan had done. Brigitte, who was in her 30s, then decided to phone the police and make her statement. She decided against laying charges.
At 40, Brigitte told her husband about the abuse. She was overwhelmed by his support and followed his suggestion to confide in their church’s minister who was also very supportive. He also suggested she contact the police again, which she has done. She awaits their response.