Calvin lived in Darwin with his family until he was three years old. After he was removed from their care, he was sent to a Protestant-run Aboriginal children’s home in the Northern Territory. The cottage he lived in there was run by houseparents Mr and Mrs Rogers.
Two or three boys slept in each bedroom, and Mrs Rogers sexually abused Calvin and all of the other boys in his room. This abuse always happened at bedtime.
‘She’d come up and she’d start playing with us and all that sort of stuff, and that happened on a regular occasion. She’d start rubbing us up and all that sort of thing, down below. And it got to the stage where she was giving us head jobs.’
Only Calvin’s siblings knew he was being abused at the time, but he did not tell them any details then. Eventually he moved to a different cottage, where the housemother would belt him on the slightest of pretexts. He left the home when he was 13, and lived with his mother, but she died a year later in violent circumstances. He also stayed with relatives for a while, before being fostered by a family in Sydney.
Calvin found work in a variety of fields, and became involved with a partner who was violent towards him. He had children, and is now a grandfather too. He has become involved in a class action against the home, with other kids who lived there. Calvin wanted to talk to the Royal Commission about his experiences ‘for all the people that were in the home, and other homes, all passed away now and they never got to tell their story’.
The sexual abuse is still in his head a lot, and he has an ongoing problem with alcohol. He has also been suicidal a number of times. Now that he has met with the Commission, he feels that he is able to consider accessing counselling.
‘There has been a couple of occasions I’ve tried to end my life. But I stopped at that split second. I thought, what the hell?’ One time, ‘I was standing on the edge of a building, looking down. I was going to jump. I had a few beers under my belt, and I was so close to stepping. I backed up, I thought, what the hell for? Over that person? ... I’ve got other things to do in life’.