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Jacob Paul's story

Jacob’s parents split up in the early 1990s when he was very young. Jacob went to live with his dad. At age 10 they moved to a town in coastal New South Wales where Jacob ‘got in with the wrong group of friends and started basically a life of crime at a young age’.

At 13 he committed a break and enter offence and was sentenced to the first of many stints in a juvenile justice centre. They were short stays at first – two weeks in, then a few weeks out, then back in again – then eventually Jacob copped a three-month sentence.

While seeing out this sentence he was sexually abused by a woman named Kate who did shift work at the juvenile justice centre. Kate had a reputation among the inmates as someone who ‘put out’. Boys bragged about their sexual activities with her. ‘It was kind of like a badge of honour kind of thing.’

Jacob’s first encounter with Kate happened on night when she came into his cell after lock-in and approached his cellmate.

‘She looked at my cellmate and she looked at me and she was like – without saying anything she was kind of asking my cellmate, “Oh, is it alright to do it in front of Jacob, in front of your cellmate?” And he’s gone “Yeah, yeah, he’s alright, he’s alright”. And I’ve gone “Yeah”. I said “I don’t care”. And then she just more or less went from there.’

Jacob said there were about six or seven incidents with Kate after that, some of them involving full sexual intercourse.

After his release from the centre, Jacob went on to commit more crimes and serve time in more juvenile justice facilities and then later in adult jails. He has spent five of the last 10 years in jail. He said that the causes of his repeat offending are ‘drug addiction, people I hang around with, and boredom’.

Jacob has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. He also has post-traumatic stress disorder – not as a consequence of the sexual abuse he suffered, but as a consequence of ‘a lot of violence’ that he experienced as a kid. The sexual abuse, he believes, had other consequences.

‘Because of what happened with Kate at such a young age, growing up and being in juvenile justice centres you kind of had the mentality that these women that were working … are only there for your pleasure, and they’re attainable, like you can get any of them. So you kind of had that seed planted in your head …

‘I’ve only just realised this recently. I just thought it was normal my whole life but now that I think back on it I think it’s affected me, the way I am with women and the way I treat women, the way I treat my girlfriends, like cheating on girlfriends and that. It was like from a young age I was taught that that was like normal … being a womaniser, objectifying women … Not rough treatment. I’d just call it disrespect.’

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