‘It’s taken many, many years, because I probably would never have told if it hadn’t have been for this Royal Commission. Because it’s only watching that on the media coverage that’s resurrected a lot of this ... It was probably always there subconsciously but now it’s in my face.’
In the early 1960s Dorian attended a Marist Brothers high school in regional New South Wales. In his second year his home room teacher was Brother Hubert.
Dorian and the boy he shared a desk with were Hubert’s ‘favourites’ and ‘almost every day’ they would be called to the front and made to sit on the Brother’s lap.
‘He started telling me I was a big boy now, and he wanted to feel my whiskers, with his stubble rubbing against my face. As I was prepubescent, I had no stubble. I remember how rough his face was, and the smell of his breath.
‘After a period of face-to-face rubbing over a number of weeks, and inane talk ... next would start the groping around my penis area. The desk front would cover this from the rest of the kids in the class. He used to rub the inside of my thigh, and up to my penis.
‘I just didn’t know what was going on. But I do distinctly remember not getting an erection, why I don’t know. Should I have? And I was totally confused.’
‘If another Brother or the headmaster knocked at the door, which was always shut, he would immediately say “Go back to your desk” and stand up.’
This abuse continued for a couple of years whenever Dorian was in the Brother’s class. Dorian told the two boys who sat at the desk behind him what Hubert was doing after they asked him why he was always called up to the front.
He also disclosed the abuse to a priest during confession but there was no response. The priest cut off the discussion by shutting the window between them.
For years Dorian did not understand that what Hubert had done to him was sexual abuse, but thought it was strange behaviour.
The abuse had immediate impacts. ‘It was around this period of say, 13 and 14 I think, my sexuality started to change in some ways. Up to this time ... I felt I was growing up into a sexually responsive and positive heterosexual way.’
He remembers going to the library and looking at pictures of naked women in the National Geographic magazines ‘and I used to get sexually aroused ... everything was going along swimmingly’.
As the abuse progressed however, he found that ‘spontaneous sexual things didn’t seem to happen as much’, and after he left school he had trouble getting full erections when he was with women. He mentioned this issue to another priest during confession who advised him ‘“for God’s sake don’t ever get married”. I came out there and felt like bloody hanging myself’.
By his late teens Dorian had ‘become a little dependent on alcohol, which I am to this day’. Although he has had periods of ‘normal sexual activity’ during his life, in recent years he has started to experience erectile dysfunction – ‘I’m sure it’s got something to do with this [abuse]’.
Dorian accessed some counselling through a victims of crime service and disclosed the abuse but felt that ‘it was useless, I didn’t get much out of it’. He is not getting any support and at the moment is researching ‘a clinic admission’ as his ‘self-esteem is rock bottom’. He thinks he has let his wife down because of his sexual difficulties. ‘I just feel I’m not a man.’
The night before he met with the Royal Commission Dorian decided to tell his ‘gobsmacked’ wife the full story of what Hubert had done. Before, he had kept details to a minimum.
‘When I’ve mentioned this to my wife before, she’s said “Yes, but you weren’t raped” ... She tended to dismiss it. But telling her last night that he was actually playing with my genitals, that came as a hell of a shock to her, because she said “Before you said you just used to sit on his knee”.’
Until contacting the Royal Commission, Dorian did not realise that any criminal or civil action, including applying for compensation, might be an option.
If Hubert is still alive, Dorian would ‘front’ him and report him to police. Given how long it has been since the abuse however ‘I suppose the bastard is dead and suffering torment for what he did. That’s my religion coming through’.
Dorian was relieved to learn in his private session the impact on sexual functioning is not an uncommon impact of this kind of abuse.
‘You know one of the most positive things that came out of this morning is, I’m not alone. I can’t believe that you’ve said that there’s other guys like me that have come in at my age and have gone through these sexual (for want of a better word) problems, dysfunctions, and it’s similar.’