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Jason Patrick's story

Jason started at his government high school in Sydney in the mid-1980s. He told the Commissioner that those were very different times. ‘You’d see male teachers grab women staff on the arse and things like that, and they pretty much had no recourse. That’s just the way … It was a place of “Men are men, and people don’t tell” and “Don’t be weak. Be a man”.’

It was well known throughout the school that the principal would grope the Year 7 and 8 boys during morning assembly. ‘Everyone used to make fun about it … The teachers would laugh about it. The students would laugh about it. So you’re taught to laugh about it.’

When the younger boys stood in line each morning, the principal would pick out boys, saying, ‘“You’ve got to have your [shirt] tucked in” and his hands go down your pants, all over your prick, all over your balls and all over your arse. And he’s there for about 30 seconds. Everyone’s just looking at him. No one pulls him up and everyone thinks it’s hilarious … That was his “thing”.'

Jason had a small group of friends at school. One day, one of his friends involved him in a prank against one of the female students. When it became known that the target of the prank was the sister of the leader of the school gang, the other boys blamed Jason, and said that he had done the prank by himself.

‘So I got the whole school against me. They literally tried to kill me on several separate occasions … I’ve got fractures in my face … I was held down and assaulted in the arse with various things. I was held down and had dog shit shoved down my throat with the back end of a dunny brush. All sorts of hideous things.’

Some of the assaults occurred at school, others were done off-site.

‘Kids can go way too far … they become exceptionally nasty … There was a couple of occasions that I knew for a fact that if I didn’t get away they would have killed me, and I’ve no doubt of that. And there were many occasions where they were pissed and I thought, “Shit, if they catch me, I’m fucked”, and that was my … ruination.’

Jason didn’t tell anyone about the assaults. ‘I was from that generation that, every [television] show when I was a kid, even the most … unoffensive show … would say … “Don’t tell. Don’t tattletale” and everything was, “Mind your own business. Don’t tell”.’

As well as being targeted for the prank, Jason was bullied because he was not interested in sports. ‘Everything that I always did, or wanted to do, I was bullied out of it … “Fucking faggot … Only faggots play an instrument. Only faggots in the fucking choir. Only faggots go to drama club” … and cop some more abuse. Everything that I ever wanted to do was just flogged out of me.’

Jason left the school at the end of Year 8. He spent a year overseas with his father and met a cousin, who gave him some confidence.

‘The transition from hatred and defilement was too quick. I came back full of hatred for boys. I trained at the gym. I got stronger and then I started confronting them, and I didn’t care how many there were, and then they all steered clear of me after that.’

Jason told the Commissioner, ‘It affected me terribly, to the point where if I saw anyone being bullied I would jump in … [When] I was 19 I was attacked by a bunch of skinheads … and then after that I started carrying weapons and … if anyone started on me, I wouldn’t hold back and eventually … I killed a person … and that’s why I come to prison’.

As Jason gets older, memories of his childhood abuse have started to return. ‘I used to volunteer in nursing homes … The childhood memories come back when they become really old. Well, it’s the same thing with this type of memories, they come back mid-age … I guess it’s just part of the psychology of it.’

Jason told the Commissioner, ‘I’ve found that my emotions in the last 12 months or so have been incredibly close to the surface … All it takes is the mention of … even it could be something on the television … and it starts tears … like triggers … emotional triggers … and you imagine how things could have been different’.

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