Jayden grew up in Perth in the 1970s. When he got into trouble as a young teenager, the family moved to a regional town. Jayden told the Commissioner that he had been working as a paper boy in Perth, and once he arrived in his new town, he began delivering papers for the local newsagent. He was about 13 or 14 at the time.
Jayden had just finished his paper round one morning when an old man came out of one of the houses and called him over. Jayden had seen the man on the street a few times but ‘never thought nothing of him’. The man told Jayden that he had some things to show him. Jayden followed him into the caravan that was in the driveway, and ‘next thing I know I’m facedown on the bed. I’m being sexually abused’.
After the assault the man ‘pulled out a gun and said, “I’ll kill your whole family if anything’s said”. I was scared shitless. I didn’t know what to say’.
Jayden was so traumatised by the assault that he ran away from home and went to live with the family of one of his friends. His mother found him and asked him to tell her what was wrong, and begged him to come home. Because of the threats the man had made, Jayden was too frightened to tell her. ‘I was having nightmares about it and everything, thinking, “Oh, I’m gonna get shot”.’ Jayden also believes that if he had told his father, he would have received a belting.
Jayden left school at 15 and worked for a year before he found that using heroin was ‘the only way I could deal with it’. He told the Commissioner that drugs were the reason for him getting into trouble. ‘I’ve spent most of my life in jail over it. Not knowing how to deal with it.’
Jayden has been in and out of jail all his adult life and has tried to take his own life a number of times. The abuse he experienced made him very angry and as he could not speak about it, the anger built up and caused him to become violent. All the offences for which he has spent time in jail have been violence-related.
The first time Jayden spoke about his abuse was to a social worker in jail, when he enrolled in a violent offenders’ program. ‘It’s mainly the fear and the shame of it. That’s why I never told no one.’ The social worker told him that he was better off telling his story.
Another factor that prompted him to tell the social worker about his sexual assault was that his children were being taken into foster care at the time, and he was terrified that someone would abuse them.
Jayden decided to tell his story to the Royal Commission in the hope that it ‘doesn’t happen like that to another person, to another child, ‘cause deadset, that destroyed my life’.