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Christopher William's story

When Christopher was at high school in regional Victoria in the late 1970s, he began running weekly music events, which were very popular. When a big event was planned for the whole school, Merv Wilson was called in to service the equipment being used. Christopher was unaware if any checks were carried out before allowing the contractor onto the school grounds.

Christopher told the Commissioner that his father was away a lot for work, so he felt a bit ‘deprived of his time, I suppose’. Wilson began chatting to Christopher at the school, discovered his interest in computers and offered to teach him about them. ‘Obviously [he] saw me as vulnerable or whatever and desperate to take teaching from anybody at that age … I still blame myself for it all happening, still.’

Wilson picked 13-year-old Christopher up from his home, and took him to a shed in the front yard of his mother’s house. He started talking to Christopher about girls, and showed him pornographic magazines. He then sexually abused Christopher for the first time. The abuse continued for six weeks, and happened on about nine occasions. ‘I knew it was wrong, but I was just dumbfounded or whatever, and so confused. I didn’t know what to do.’

Wilson also convinced Christopher to take naked pictures of his younger sister and Christopher’s school friend, in sexual poses. Wilson provided the film, saying he would pay $20 for the photos. ‘The photos didn’t come out and yeah, that was pretty much the end of my contact with him.’

Christopher told the Commissioner, ‘I’m still very guilty about that … I was being manipulated, and then I manipulated them. It still disgusts me. It really does’. He has never been able to speak to his sister about the photos.

After the abuse stopped, Christopher, ‘gave up on life … basically. Computers at school and the computer at home. I told Dad to take the computer away. Mum and Dad never asked why. That’s still an issue. Of course, at school, I gave up on computers as well, and gave up on everything … became very distant to everybody’.

Christopher’s school grades deteriorated, especially in maths. ‘Nobody ever asked, “What’s wrong? Do you need help, or do you need tutoring or …” That’s when it all started going downhill … I was … thinking that somebody’s got to notice … No one ever noticed … I never got that maths confidence back again, which then upset the rest of my life … my employment.’

Because of his weakness in maths, Christopher was unable to train in the role he had hoped for. He believes that he would have gone a lot further in his career if he had not been sexually abused by Wilson.

In his early thirties, Christopher suffered a breakdown and decided to seek help. He contacted the police to report Wilson, and was told that five other men had also come forward to report him.

Christopher went to court, mentally prepared to face Wilson on the stand, but he wasn’t able to testify. They ‘shafted me … I didn’t get to say my bit, how much devastation it’s caused. Basically destroyed me. I’m a broken person and have been ever since’. After he was given a deal and allowed to plead guilty to a reduced number of charges, Wilson was convicted and sentenced to three or four months’ jail.

Christopher believes that it would help if he could contact the five men who came forward to report Wilson, ‘to share the shame, I suppose, for what he did to me, and what he did to others … to be able to spend time with other guys that have been used by the same fellow’.

He told the Commissioner that he is aware that privacy legislation would make it difficult for this to happen.

Christopher’s marriage failed and he has little contact with his children. ‘I put drugs and alcohol … in front of them. I drank quite a bit.’ Christopher told the Commissioner that he suffers from flashbacks, suicidal thoughts, and negative internal dialogues about his self-worth. He believes he will never succeed at anything. He is ‘trying to live in this world without the saboteur in my brain going, “No, you can’t do well. You can’t do well”’.

Christopher was a founding member of a men’s group, but when the group began to expand, he found he couldn’t cope with the increasing number of men participating. When no one asked him why he’d stopped attending, he took it as a sign that they didn’t want him there.

He is now seeing a psychiatrist and a mental health nurse, and told the Commissioner that he wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. He hasn’t been able to work for six years, and is now on a disability pension.

Christopher told the Commissioner that he feels safest on his own. ‘Once I’m triggered I recede into myself, probably a week or two weeks at a time sometimes, and I don’t contact anybody, don’t talk to anybody, don’t see anybody. Just lock myself away and eat the bare minimum, just enough to survive … Leading up to this, this week’s been horrible. Just all the flashbacks and everything coming back and bombarding me. In a way, I just want to be left alone …’

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