Gordon was born into a large family in country Victoria in the 1950s. His parents were both alcoholics and there was never any money. He remembers having ‘to catch rabbits and fish for tea and stuff like that’.
Gordon started high school when he turned 12. Looking back, he now realises that a teacher, Mr Sommers, was grooming him for sex. He told the Commissioner, ‘being from a very large, poor family with alcoholic parents we never got toys or stuff like the other kids got. So he used to buy me things like ice creams and stuff like that’.
His parents gave him permission to go on a two-week trip to Melbourne with Mr Sommers to stay at Mr Sommers’ parents’ home while they were away. The abuse started with fondling, then progressed to oral sex. It continued for about a year after they returned from Melbourne.
Gordon says that another man, Hamish, also abused him after a night-time swim at the pool when he was in his early to mid-teens. Gordon believes that Mr Sommers and Hamish were in cahoots.
‘It’s a country town. They would have known each other, for sure. And I think people like that network.’
Gordon’s grades plummeted and he failed the first year of high school. He struggled on, repeated the year, then at 14 dropped out of school.
Before he left, Gordon took the opportunity to have his revenge. He told the Commissioner, ‘I asked to put on a boxing match display to earn money, with me and Mr Sommers. And it was my intention for a bit of vengeance, but I didn’t say that to the teachers of course … and they agreed ... The first couple of rounds I just played around. The third round I just went bang, bang, and knocked him to the ground and jumped on him. And the PE teacher grabbed me to pull me off him, and as he grabbed me he said, “Well done, Gordon”.’
Mr Sommers didn’t touch him again after that. Gordon told the Commissioner, ‘No, the guy didn’t abuse me after that. He knew that if he tried any more I was going to hurt him’.
Gordon said he has a drinking problem and he has been in and out of mental health institutions. To date, he has never told his story to the police or other authorities.