Jacklyn's story

When she was growing up, Jacklyn’s parents weren’t in great health. Both her mother and father were in and out of hospital for treatment while supporting the family on the pension. Jacklyn often had to take care of her siblings and be in charge of the family home when her parents weren’t there.

In the mid-1970s when Jacklyn was 12, she joined a local sports club in a town in New South Wales. Her sports coach, Mr Andrews, lived on the same street and would give her lifts to practice when her parents couldn’t. Jacklyn recalls Andrews being a large man in his 40s who also had daughters who played the same sport. He was an affectionate man and cuddled all the girls during practice.

One afternoon when Jacklyn was 14, Andrews said he needed to grab something from his home before heading to practice. Jacklyn was told to come in and wait in the living room while he went upstairs. She complied and sat down.

‘He called out to me asking if the blinds were down, which they were. Then he came down the stairs completely naked … He came around the back of me and put his hands down [my shirt] and was kissing my neck.’

Jacklyn was repulsed by him and tried to fight him off. He continued to touch her breasts, completely ignoring her refusal. She recalls him saying something about his daughter’s breasts while he was touching her. She then pushed him away and ran to the door, but he panicked and stopped her. He then offered to drive her home.

In the car Andrews said it was their little secret and Jacklyn shouldn’t tell anyone what happened. All she wanted to do was get away from him so she agreed. She said after he dropped her off at home, she never received a lift from him again. Shortly after, Jacklyn left the sports club.

She never told anyone about Andrews’ behaviour. She didn’t want to worry anyone, especially her parents in their condition. She didn’t think her teachers would understand so she kept her silence.

‘I didn’t feel I could talk to Mum and Dad about it. I was embarrassed and I was worried about what my father might do.’

In the late 1970s, Jacklyn’s younger sister also left the sports club. She didn’t tell Jacklyn the reason for her decision but did tell her that the manager of the sports club, Heather Parkes, was told about Andrews’ behaviour. Jacklyn is unsure what came from that disclosure.

Jacklyn has put the abuse behind her and doesn’t believe her experience of abuse has had any long-term impacts on her life. She has had several family tragedies which have impacted her mental health and she has developed health problems which she is working through today.

It was only recently that Jacklyn discovered that what Andrews did was a crime. When she was in her 30s, Jacklyn told her best friend about the abuse. Shortly after, she discussed the abuse with her children and told them how important it is to speak up if it happened to them.

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