Curtis's story

Curtis was born on an island in Western Australia in the 1960s, but was removed from his family when he was around four years old. He and his little sister were taken to an Aboriginal mission on the mainland, which was run by an order of Catholic Brothers.

One day Brother Cormac got Curtis to sit on his lap, and ‘started doing sex with me’. Another Brother was there too, and Curtis thinks he may have been acting as a look-out so Brother Cormac didn't get caught.

Curtis was also sexually abused by older boys in the mission dormitory. This happened many times. He couldn’t tell anyone he was being abused, as he was very afraid.

After four years at the mission, Curtis ran away. He took his sister and they hid in the back of a vehicle, finally making it to the town where their parents were living. They were able to stay with their family after this.

Curtis did not apply for the state’s redress scheme for people who had been in care as children. He told the Royal Commission he thought it would be a sin to go back and tell the Church about the abuse, and has not approached them for an apology or compensation.

Curtis has flashbacks of being sexually abused, and the memories are always there with him. He attempted suicide, and has also harmed himself. Sometimes he was violent to other people, and spent time in prison.

He has had problems with alcohol, and sought help to try and stop drinking so much. When he went to the alcohol centre, he did not tell them about being sexually abused when he was little, as he would rather keep it to himself and family.

Curtis told his parents and sisters about the abuse when he was in his 30s. His daughters and wife are very supportive, and his Christian faith has also comforted him.

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