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Dee's story

Dee is one of the Stolen Generations and was made a state ward as a baby, living with a family for her early years and then at a children’s home run by Catholic nuns in Sydney.

The nuns were cruel and obsessed with cleanliness. Dee remembers being woken at 5am each morning to scrub the floors [but] ‘you’ve got to say your Hail Marys first’.

Dee would be sent home to stay with her biological mother on the weekends. On one of these visits in the early 1960s a man who came to the house raped her. She told the nuns what had happened, but they didn’t believe her and told her not to ‘cry wolf’.

However, she had become pregnant as a result of the rape. She was approximately nine years old when she had her baby.

The nuns ‘made me have a normal birth’, which ‘broke all of my hips’. Afterwards, Dee was ‘in plaster all the way down’ because of these injuries, and then had to wear callipers: ‘They made me suffer.’

When Dee was around 11 years old, she was sent away to an Aboriginal mission interstate. She lived in a dormitory there and was regularly beaten and punished.

At some stage her great-grandmother came to the mission with Dee’s baby, and took her out of the dormitory. She lived at the mission camp for a while longer, but kept running away because of the conditions and treatment there.

During all her time in care, Dee did not ever have a welfare officer visit her to ask about how she was. Dee has never engaged with any counselling or support about the sexual abuse in her childhood.

In later life she started using alcohol heavily, as well as ice and marijuana. She has had troubles with housing and has been in contact with the criminal justice system.

Dee has not reported the abuse she experienced to police, the state, or the Catholic Church. She thinks talking to them ‘goes in one ear and out the other, because I’m black ... If you’re white, you’re right’.

She would like to receive some kind of apology for the abuse she experienced in her childhood, ‘not for me, but for my grandchildren ... I’d like to have compensation because of what they done to me, and what they done to my family, and their families’.

Dee remembers listening to Prime Minister Rudd apologising to the Stolen Generations. ‘He’s saying sorry - but where’s the money, honey?’

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