Born in the 1940s in Brisbane, Jason was a sickly boy who spent much of his early childhood in hospital. He told the Commissioner, ‘I lived in the general hospital, you might as well say, from five to 13’.
Up until Jason was eight his mother accompanied him to all his medical appointments. After that she let him go in alone, but with strict instructions.
‘My mother always used to say to me, “Whatever the doctor wanted to do to you, do not stop him. Let him do whatever he has to do”.’
Many of the doctors treated Jason with care and professionalism but some, he soon found, ‘were only interested in one thing: seeing you undressed and playing with yourself. That’s just the way it was’.
Three different doctors abused Jason in this way. Confusingly for him, the main offender was also his favourite doctor. ‘He was the best one, that saved my life, that really looked after me, as medical-wise goes. But he had funny ideas. And he would do things behind his desk while I had to show him what I could do.’
Later, some of the nurses also abused Jason. They would make him stand naked in the bath while they touched his penis. ‘Two or three girls would come in and start trying to make something stand up, because I was a 12-year-old. And they’d try to get that, and then they’d start to giggle and things like that.’
Around this time Jason was moved from the children’s ward to the adult ward ‘where all the old men died’. Jason befriended many of these men and cared for them until they passed away. The men, in turn, looked out for him.
‘They warned me that doctors did funny things. And they also warned me about a couple of the nurses.’
The men told Jason that he was an adult now and was entitled to say no. Jason took this to heart and the next time the nurses tried to abuse him he ‘put his foot down’ and told them to stop, which they did.
Jason said that once the abuse was over it had little ongoing impact on his life. ‘I think I’ve been able to put it somewhere in the brain and I can just live with it. It hasn’t really worried me or anything like that.’
Before coming to the Royal Commission he’d never discussed the abuse with anyone, and he would have been content to maintain this silence if not for the recent media coverage of child sexual abuse. On TV Jason saw ‘priest after priest after priest’ being charged with offences but no mention of doctors or nurses. So he thought he’d come forward to set the record straight.
Now that he’s done that, he said, ‘I’ll just go back to being me. I don’t think I’ve got it out. It’s been there. I’ve never taken much notice of it, but you people wanted to know something so I thought, well, it might help’.