Dean Matthew's story

Dean was 10 years old when his father died in the mid-1970s. His mother couldn’t cope, so Dean and his siblings were sent to a children’s home in Sydney. When he was 12, his siblings went back to their mother but he ‘was getting a bit wild … and I ended up getting put in for being uncontrollable, into the [juvenile justice centre]’.

Dean told the Commissioner, ‘I got there in the afternoon, strip searched and then they took me up to that room and it was getting dark. They gave me pyjamas. Next minute, you fall asleep. Next minute, he’s coming up raping you …

‘He raped me five times. It was going to be a sixth, but one of the ladies … I reckon she knew what was going on and she goes, “Oh, Dean, you come with me” … and then I’m with her, you know … It’s like she knew what he was doing but because he was so high up …’

Although she prevented the sixth rape, Dean doesn’t believe that the staff member told anyone of her suspicions about the manager of the juvenile justice centre who sexually abused him.

The abuse that Dean experienced has had a huge impact on his adult life. He blamed his mother and older sister for putting him in care. He has trust issues. He pushes people away, including his wife, because he’s afraid of being hurt. He was also initially reluctant to have children, because he was afraid ‘I might turn into someone like that’.

When Dean returned home, he didn’t want to live with his mother. ‘I asked [my uncle] could I live with him for a while, because what I wanted to do was kill my mum and my sister for putting me there. He just got into my ear and took me for a bit over a year, and calmed me down … He knew what happened and he hunted for him … Fair dinkum, he hunted for him.’

Dean’s uncle was a member of a bikie gang and he believes that if his abuser hadn’t fled overseas, his uncle, or one of the other bikies, would have killed him.

Dean has tried to take his own life many times. After one such incident in the late 90s, his wife left him. She was unaware of the sexual abuse at the time. After this, Dean saw a counsellor.

His wife, who accompanied him to his private session, commented, ‘All those years, he’d like have triggers and I didn’t know … He’d be so beautiful one minute, and then so angry … And it did help us a lot in our marriage that he got to get rid of that, and the counsellor said that he [needed] to go to the police … so that he [could] at least get some sort of closure’.

Dean is frustrated that the police have not extradited his abuser to face charges. There are still warrants out for his arrest. ‘I still don’t understand why it’s taken so long to grab this guy, you know … I think my goal is to see him. I know youse’d lock him up, but I’d like to … cut him up.’

The impact of the sexual abuse is always with Dean.

‘You still feel ashamed … I always feel ashamed that I was touched and you know, you feel dirty all the time. You never get over it. And then you blame your mum and the hate, the hate I had for my mother and then, when I did start to talk to her, she died.’

Dean has little contact with his family now because seeing them brings back too many memories. His wife said, ‘Everything comes up and he gets very agitated and depressed, so I find that he’s better off just … [with me and the children]’.

Dean came forward to the Royal Commission because ‘I just want justice. I just want him locked up … I imagine, if he got caught and went to jail, you know … They hate paedophiles in jail …’

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