In the early 1940s when she was a baby, Eryn was taken from her family and placed in a children’s home. She doesn’t know her biological family and they never visited her at the home. At the age of three, she was placed into foster care with the Jamison family, who lived in a small town in Victoria.
Eryn stayed with the Jamisons until she was seven years old. Her bed was in the hallway of the house and she was left alone most of the time. When Eryn turned four, Mr Jamison’s behaviour started to change. He kept trying to have sex with her. She said he was ‘very persistent’.
On one occasion when the family was asleep, Mr Jamison forced her to perform oral sex on him. She recalls him being very angry and told her ‘not to make a noise’ but she felt sick and vomited on him.
‘I couldn’t tell anyone, no one would believe me. I didn’t know what to say either, because I didn’t know what he was doing to me.’
Mr Jamison continued to abuse her and threatened her so she wouldn’t tell anyone. She tried to run away from the Jamison home several times, but was always returned by the police.
When she was seven, the Jamisons sent Eryn back to the children’s home. She recalls them saying that she was a ‘naughty’ child and they couldn’t care for her any more. Eryn said the workers at the home were lovely and good to her and she was sad when she was moved to an orphanage in a different town.
When she was 12, Eryn was placed in a large dormitory of the institution. During the day she attended school, where she came into contact with a male teacher. This teacher called Eryn ‘his best pupil’ and she recalls winning a prize for her work – two beauty products – which made her feel special.
The teacher’s behaviour, however, soon changed. Eryn was often asked to stay back after class and he would try to make her have sex with him. She refused each time, however he was very insistent. He told her to not tell on him or she would get into trouble and she complied.
One afternoon he cornered Eryn after class and forced her to give him oral sex. He held her down and she was upset because she saw no way out. She then bit him and he hit her over the head.
‘That was the last time he tried.’
Eryn didn’t tell anyone about the abuse. She said she couldn’t get the words out. She ended up breaking the gifts because they reminded her of him and she got into a lot of trouble for it.
After the abuse occurred, Eryn couldn’t function at school. She didn’t trust other adults and would often get into trouble for misbehaviour. By the time she was 14, she was removed from the orphanage and sent to a hostel in a different town.
Eryn worked for a family while living at the hostel. She said that while she was living there, she was raped by three strange men. She tried to tell the hostel’s matron but the matron didn’t listen to her. Shortly after disclosing the rape, she was sent to a women’s training centre as punishment until she was 18.
In the late 1950s, she got a job in elderly care and attended school by correspondence. She was able to complete her higher school certificate and went on to university. When she was in her 20s, she met her husband and they had children together.
Eryn said she has had difficulty trusting people. She suffers from nightmares, has self-confidence issues and struggles to eat properly. She is on medication for depression and is often ill. When she was in her 40s, her marriage came to an end. The breakdown affected her relationships with her children and they are now estranged.
In 2010 Eryn disclosed her sexual abuse to her solicitor, but did not tell him the full details. She issued a civil claim against the State of Victoria and received $15,000 in compensation. She said she has been hurting for a long time and has no interest in making a police report.