Growing up in Sydney, Franklyn was a shy child who did not have a good relationship with his father. ‘I was a very sensitive kid. Really bad pathological shyness.’
Franklyn recalled that when he was 12 years old in the late 1970s he was approached by a man in the toilets of a bowling alley. He told his father about the incident, who then blamed his son rather than the perpetrator.
A year later, Franklyn was admitted into a boys’ shelter in Sydney for a short period of time. While residing there he was sexually abused by a staff member. Not long after, he was moved to a government-run boy’s home, the first of a number of institutions he spent time in.
While living at the second home he went with some of the officers to the pub, but because he was underage he had to wait outside. While outside, a friend of one of the officers offered him some cannabis. After sharing a joint, this man raped Franklyn.
Approximately two years later, Franklyn was moved to a third boys’ home in regional New South Wales.
‘The big officer there named Officer Packer, he got me in the back of the kitchen. He did it couple of times. And then he come out in front of everyone and he got me by the fingers and he bent me down on my knees in front of everyone. And I got down on my knees and then I tell you man, I cracked him and that was when I was about 15.’
Fed up with being assaulted, Franklyn fought Packer off and broke his leg. After this incident, Franklyn’s grandfather guessed that something serious had happened.
‘He said “Mate you just ride it through and you’ll be right”. Like, he supported me, you know. But he didn’t know what to do.’ Franklyn’s grandfather complained to the institution which resulted in Franklyn being moved once more, this time to a home he described as ‘heaps better. They treated you like men up there’.
From the age of 18, Franklyn has been in and out of prison. He has used drugs and alcohol to help cope with a feeling of shame, and battled with sexual identity confusion. ‘I thought maybe I might be gay. I went through all that shit. I know I’m not ‘cause I always had nice girlfriends.’
As a young boy, Franklyn never truly understood that he had been abused. ‘I was pretty lucky. I didn’t even know anything really happened to me. I was more worried about other kids. I didn’t realise that I got myself, you know.’ As an adult, he has never reported the abuse to the police nor sought compensation. ‘I don’t know if they’d believe me. I’m like a long career junkie. I’ve been on the bad side of the law for life.’
Franklyn is due to be released from prison soon, and once outside will consider speaking with a counsellor.
Prior to speaking with the Royal Commission, Franklyn had only ever disclosed his abuse to one other inmate, preferring to avoid the subject with others if it came up. ‘Why I’m alone is ‘cause when you get men all together they always joke about it. And I find it very hard to lie … If they come up, someone said something to me, I know my face would just blush.’