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Darryl George's story

‘I wasn’t an angel you know, but ... I thought me mum and dad loved me. They probably loved me in their own different type of way.’

Darryl’s mother lived with a significant mental illness and was physically abusive. ‘I love my mum but she was pretty violent when I was younger ... She used to take her frustrations out on me more than the other brothers and sisters ... She used to hit me with the cricket bat across the head, with the jug cord.’ He’d avoid coming home for fear of a belting, then get belted anyway when he arrived.

Sometimes his father would ‘get pretty violent when he wanted to’ as well. ‘Mum used to egg him on.’

When Darryl began stealing he was declared an ‘uncontrollable child’ by the courts, and made a state ward around the age of 11. Once he left home his mother abused his siblings more – ‘it was my sister who copped it, then when she left it was my other sister’.

After a short period at a reception centre he was sent to a Christian Brothers orphanage in regional Victoria for a few years. At first Darryl was very homesick. ‘But I didn’t realise then that Mum didn’t want me home.’

The woman who looked after Darryl’s dormitory had a young adult son, Rick. ‘His mother used to go away on the weekends and then he used to be in charge of the dormitory.’

Rick sexually abused Darryl on a number of occasions. ‘He used to make me touch his penis, and he used to touch my penis. And I didn’t want to do it but I was a young kid. I didn’t know what to do, I had nowhere to run. He done that about two or three times, and to keep me mouth shut he used to give me extra pocket money ... He used to buy me a brand new pair of Adidas footy boots ... Just trying to keep me mouth quiet.’

Darryl reported the abuse to a Brother he believed was in charge of the home, and ‘I got a belting ... for making this accusation. So I didn’t know where to go to’.

The abuse stopped after Darryl moved to a dormitory for older kids, and did not have contact with Rick.

After leaving the home Darryl spent time in a youth training centre, and at 17 was homeless and hungry. He starting sniffing glue and abusing other drugs. As an adult he committed various robberies and assaults and spent time in prison, but has not been incarcerated for 30 years now. Still, his earlier experiences with police have made him reluctant to report the abuse.

In later years he told his parents. His mother did not respond, but his father said he wished he could have helped him. He has told his sisters too, but not many other people.

Although Darryl would like to have a partner, it is difficult for him to maintain relationships with women. He has never had children, but ‘I wish I did – maybe that might have pulled me head in a bit’.

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