Close

Harvie Jed's story

‘We were punching bags for all the other kids.’

Harvie’s parents operated a business on an island resort in Queensland. In the 1970s he began attending the local primary school, where he immediately became the target of bullying. It got so bad that he regularly came home with a black eye.

His parents became so concerned, they decided to move Harvie to a state school on the mainland. There were no accommodation facilities, so it was arranged for him to live at a nearby boarding school.

At eight years old and the youngest in the dormitory, life there was no different to his old school. Harvie recalled having toothpaste rubbed into his genitals when he was in the shower. Older boys would wrap bars of soap in towels and hit him while he was sleeping.

The dormitory master, Mr East, was physically abusive. He had a large plank of wood that was used to punish anyone misbehaving. Harvie can’t count how many times East hit him with the plank.

The dormitory had a culture where, if you ‘dobbed’ or got someone into trouble, the older boys would beat you up. So when an older resident, Justin Tallop, took an interest in Harvie, he knew he couldn’t say anything. Tallop had a habit of getting into Harvie’s bed and molesting him.

‘He was always trying to sneak into my bed at night, which freaked the hell out of me. I’d start yelling and carrying on and then [Mr East] would come in and gives us six [hits]. It was a real catch 22.’

Tallop was 13 and a troublemaker who’d already been expelled from several schools. He continued to abuse Harvie for a few months until he was again expelled. With the benefit of hindsight, Harvie thinks Tallop did the same thing to the other younger boarders.

On one occasion when Harvie was nine, he decided to stay at the dormitory for a long weekend. A couple of older boys spotted him, pushed him into a locker and locked it. He remained there for two days.

If it wasn’t for Eric Quentin, a 17-year-old resident, Harvie believes he wouldn’t have escaped. Eric heard him crying and got him out of the locker. He then took Harvie to the principal and told him what had happened.

‘He was the one that said to the principal, “You’ve got to get those younger boys out of the dormitory”.’

Harvie and the younger boys were then moved to a separate dorm. After that, he didn’t have much to do with the other residents. However, there was a boy who beat him up whenever he refused to smoke with him. This occurred frequently.

In his early teens, Harvie gave his parents an ultimatum. If they sent him back to live at the boarding school for another year, he would drop out and join the army. His parents agreed and he went out of his way to avoid the older boys in public.

He didn’t disclose the details of Tallop’s abuse because he was embarrassed.

Throughout his teens and as an adult, Harvie has had difficulty relating to others. He’s spent most of his life single because he has trouble talking to women. He doesn’t like crowds and people approaching him from behind and is often ‘on edge’. He’s also a heavy drinker and smoker and has used drugs in the past.

‘I’m always looking for an alternative.’

Harvie disclosed the details of the abuse to his counsellor several months before coming to the Royal Commission. He has never reported Tallop to police or taken legal action against the boarding school, but was interested in compensation.

Tags

Content updating Updating complete