Clyve's story

‘I was destroyed as a child and then ripped out of having choices as an adult.’

Clyve has always been intrigued by the performing arts. In the late 1960s when he was eight years old, he joined the local amateur theatre and participated in their productions. He loved the theatre and the mentors he had. He said it provided him with an escape from his family life as his parents were in the process of divorcing at the time.

It took a long time for him to become an integral part of the theatre. He auditioned for a lead role, and got the part in a large production when he was 13 years old. It was then that he came into contact with Don Sear and Jacob Vince. Sear was the producer and Vince was the manager of the theatre. Clyve recalls having several rehearsals a week and being paid $2 each week before the show was performed. He became very close to Sear and Vince and they both took an interest in him.

Clyve liked Sear because of his clothing choices and his ‘imposing character’. He said Sear spoke to him ‘as a mature young adult’ which made him feel special. He would often give an extra hand during the rehearsal breaks and would stay behind after to tidy up the venue. Sear would always commend him for helping out.

Clyve lived far away from the theatre and both his parents worked the night shift so an arrangement was made that he would stay at Sear’s home after rehearsals and shows. His parents took it in turns to drop him off and pick him up the next day.

Clyve was sexually abused by both Sear and Vince over the course of a year. The abuse took place at the production venue as well as at Sear’s home, before and after rehearsals. The abuse consisted of fondling, masturbation, anal and oral sex and was often done in front of others. He was also forced to have sex with other boys his age and other adults.

‘It’s difficult for people to hear that I was held down and anally raped at the age of 13 in a room that was isolated. I’d been brought by a man who had pre-determined to do this … I was told almost immediately after, by the man, that it didn’t happen and that I would “get over it”, and I should shut my mouth.’

Sear threatened to ‘kill’ Clyve if he told anyone what was happening. He said he was stressed about the situation and he was also intimidated by Sear. He felt alone and couldn’t tell anyone about the abuse. He didn’t want to worry his parents as they were going through their divorce, which was upsetting enough.

‘I know no isolation as definite or as well described as being the victim and keeping your mouth shut. If I’d known that when I was 13, I wouldn’t have kept my mouth shut.’

Clyve was injured when he was being abused by Sear’s friend. He used this as an excuse to get away from Sear and Vince but he was scared that he would get into trouble because Sear didn’t know about the incident. He said that after that he became stubborn and refused to comply with their requests for sex.

Clyve continued to go to school after the abuse ceased, but he struggled. He said he found it difficult to stay focused and was often confused about his sexuality. He was unable to ‘understand men and how they communicated’ because he was used to them saying one thing and meaning another. He often questioned his male teachers and got in trouble for doing so.

The effects of the abuse started to take over when he was in his early 20s. He said he ‘blanketed out’ the abuse with drugs and alcohol for several years. His personal relationships often broke down and he lost opportunities to ‘redeem himself’.

When he was in his 20s, he decided to turn his life around.

He wanted to produce and write for children’s theatre. He moved away from home and went to university in a different state. He studied for over five years before becoming part of a children’s theatre company. He never spoke of the abuse to anyone until the late 1990s when he was dismissed from his job.

No action was taken against his offenders when he first reported them. He was told that no investigations could proceed due to the statute of limitations. This angered him because he believed that Sear and Vince would have had ‘continuing relationships’ with young boys.

He then made three separate police statements in the mid-2000s but the case took over five years to get a result. He said the reduced sentences both the men received were ‘very soft’. He found his experience with the police ‘infuriating’ because they didn’t ‘make the connection’ between what happened to him as a child and the adult he has become.

‘It’s very difficult in that environment where no one is listening to actually be assertive about some of the things that have occurred.

‘When you speak of the loss involved in being abused, it’s not just the loss of personal sanctity it’s the loss of a bridge to anywhere.’

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