For a two-year period during his early teens, Grady was sexually abused by his older brother, Luke. Only recently, many years after Luke died, has Grady discovered the reason why his brother did what he did.
Grady grew up in a strict Catholic family. When he was old enough he followed his older brother to the local Catholic high school. It was around this time, when he was in Year 7 and Luke in Year 8, that the sexual abuse began.
‘At home Luke became completely out of control and started doing really weird things. And bad things. He started wanting me to get dressed up in women’s underwear and women’s clothing and he wanted to have sex with me.’
Luke obtained the women’s clothing by stealing it from houses and clotheslines around the neighbourhood. He continued this behaviour, as well as the advances towards Grady, for the next two years until he graduated high school and left home.
From then on Grady had little to do with his brother and did his best to get on with his own life. He succeeded at school and went on to further study and then a successful career. One day he heard that Luke was having some trouble with his marriage and decided to head interstate for a few weeks to stay with him.
On the second day, Luke showed Grady a garbage bag full of ‘high-end, luxury women’s lingerie’ that he had stolen from a shop. This prompted Grady to ask if Luke had been sexually abused at school. Luke denied that anything had happened to him. Later they got drunk and stoned and eventually Luke said he was going to bed but added that if Grady wanted to dress up in the lingerie he should go ahead.
‘Stupidly I did. Well, I don’t know if it was stupidly. I did get dressed up in that lingerie. At one point I turned around and there was this flashing red light coming in through the back door, in the gap in this curtain. And I got the sensation that Luke was out there videotaping me.’
Grady got changed immediately and went to bed.
‘And there was no more real discussion about those things until my last night. And on my last night when I was going to go to bed, Luke came into my bedroom. He was all dressed up in this lingerie and he asked me if I would have sex with him. I said to him, “No, you’re my brother, we can’t do that”.’
Luke then went into the next room and loudly masturbated. The next morning Luke asked Grady not to tell anyone what happened. Luke died several years later. Every year since then, around the anniversary of Luke’s death, Grady hits an emotional low. A few years back it got so bad that he decided to seek professional help and started seeing a psychologist. This also helped him to cope with his confusion and anxiety in relation to his sexuality.
Grady was coping reasonably well until he saw the publicity surrounding the Royal Commission. One of the stories he heard was about a boy whose teacher had forced him to dress in women’s underwear. Grady began to suspect that the same thing must have happened to Luke. The more he thought about it the more likely it seemed.
For starters, Grady’s own experience at high school suggested that several of his teachers were paedophiles. One teacher, Mr Halliday, once took him out for dinner to congratulate him on a sporting victory. ‘Nothing occurred with me and Mr Halliday during that time. However, when I was at his flat he did point out to me that he had pornographic magazines sitting on the coffee table.’
In retrospect, Grady sees this as grooming behaviour. Similarly, he thinks that the constant hugs he received from Brother Dominic were part of a plan to groom him for sexual abuse. Fortunately, for Grady that abuse never eventuated. But Luke might not have been so lucky.
Continuing his investigation, Grady called up one of Luke’s old classmates and asked him if he had any suspicions.
‘He said to me, “I am pretty certain that something happened between Luke and Mr Halliday” … He said, “Luke was getting up to really bad things in that period of time. Really bad things”. But he wouldn’t elaborate.’
He also gave Grady the names of two men who had been in Luke’s class. Grady phoned one of the men up. The man was immediately defensive and seemed to deny everything a little too forcefully. He refused to give Grady the contact details for the other man but said he would call him on Grady’s behalf.
A few weeks and several text message prompts later, the man finally got back to Grady. He said that the other man, ‘Didn’t know anything about anything. So my trail on those enquiries effectively hit a dead end’.
The only thing left to do was tell the story.
‘I don’t think that there’s very much that the Commission can do about this. What I am wanting to do is to give this information so that I can heal and to speak up for my dead brother because I don’t think he ever got a chance to speak up.’