Chip was removed from his parents’ care in the late 1960s when he was around four years old, most likely because they drank heavily. He has never known his mother or father, and isn’t sure if he has any siblings.
‘I had no idea who I was. I didn’t even know that I was Aboriginal.’ For the next dozen years he was placed in various residential care facilities around Queensland.
Chip has flashbacks to sexual abuse that happened to him at the first boys’ home he lived in, run by the Anglican Church in suburban Brisbane. Being so young at the time, he can’t clearly remember the details of who committed this abuse.
‘It could have been older boys, I don’t know. But I know that there was things that were happening to me. I was made to do, have sex with them. Like anal sex, and sucking on their penises.’
Chip stayed at this home for around a year, and did not experience any sexual abuse in any of the other places he was sent after this.
A few years ago Chip was contacted by a police officer, who was investigating sexual abuse at this particular home. This was the first time he had told authorities about the abuse. The officer who spoke with Chip is now deceased, and he does not know if the matter was investigated further.
The police didn’t offer any counselling, and he still has not spoken to a counsellor. ‘I just move on with my life, you know, and I don’t let it get to me.’
Chip describes himself as a ‘quiet fella’. ‘I found it hard to be in a relationship, just to trust people.’ He has been homeless at various times, and also spent a short time in jail.
When he was in his 20s, Chip decided to throw himself into his work in order to stay out of trouble. He has been in the workforce ever since.
Chip lives with his wife and children, who all know about the abuse. He keeps himself busy with family, work and other activities, including sport. ‘I just keep working, and music – listening to a lot of music, and just friends along the way that I’ve met ... I just keep moving on with my life.’