Clint was born drug dependent due to his mother’s drug abuse during pregnancy. He was adopted by a relative in the early 1980s, when still an infant. The family made this arrangement so his mother could visit him easily, without the interference of the welfare department, courts, or police. Life with his adoptive family was generally good. He maintained contact with his biological mum and played a lot of sport.
After Clint’s adoptive mother died in his arms he was left in the care of her alcoholic husband, who took Clint to the pub every day and make him sit there while he drank and gambled. He couldn’t pay for Clint’s sports fees, and so Clint could no longer participate in these activities.
It was around this time that Clint began getting into trouble. At 15 he was sent to a juvenile justice centre in Melbourne, where he met a guard called Merv Taylor.
‘He started to groom me. He started to call me “boy, son”, and that type of name. Would always be touchy-feely and have his hand on me ... And he started giving me cigarettes, to make me closer with him I guess ... It all stemmed from me needing more cigarettes, because I was addicted to cigarettes.
‘And he started to touch me inappropriately, on my penis, on my bum. And he’d always sort of run his hands through my hair, and sort of try and hold me like a father would.’
Taylor took Clint into his cell on a number of occasions over the six months he was at the centre. ‘Told me he wasn’t going to give me cigarettes unless I touched him and stuff ... I just touched his dick and masturbated him. It got worse over time. Making me give him oral, and it got to the point where he was trying to have sex with me. And I started crying and breaking down, and so he didn’t do it.’
Eventually Clint got away from Taylor by being transferred to a different part of the centre. He did not tell anyone about this abuse because Taylor had threatened to hunt down and hurt his girlfriend if he did so.
When he left detention Clint ran away and became homeless, and started to use heroin. For most of his adult life he has been incarcerated. He still managed to maintain a long-term relationship for many years and has a number of children and grandchildren, but is largely absent from their lives.
Clint lives with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. For much of his life Clint has self-harmed, and experienced suicidal ideation. He also has trouble maintaining interpersonal relationships.
‘For some reason I stuff up all my relationships. I don’t have any friends even now ... I’ve pushed everybody away. I’ve pushed my family away, I’ve pushed my children away ... I started to hurt people, by bashing men. That’s why I’d come to jail all the time, just because I would bash people up. I drink heavily to drown my sorrows. Like every time I get out of prison I’m back in within a month or two these days, because I can’t handle life outside. I can’t cope.’
In the past year Clint has started engaging with a psychiatrist, though not disclosing the sexual abuse, and he has noticed his anger is increasingly under control. He plans to continue this treatment, but is not open to taking medication for his mental health as he doesn’t want to become a ‘zombie’. He may, however, consider counselling specifically about the sexual abuse he experienced. ‘I’m just hoping it doesn’t make me angry again, like I used to be. I hope it doesn’t open fresh wounds.’
Clint also hopes that he might eventually become a mentor to kids with similar childhoods to his. ‘You need people like me, who have been through all the hard shit, to be able to really get through ... Kids these days they don’t really want to talk to rich people, that have got a nice car and a nice suit and stuff. They want to talk to bums like themselves, that have been an alcoholic, that have been a heroin addict ... Some real people that have lived tough lives need to be employed in positions to be like a big brother advocate to young kids coming out of juvenile justice homes.’