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Julien Greg's story

Julien was born into a large family in Queensland in the late 1950s. He described his family life as ‘difficult’. His mother was verbally abusive and his father was a violent alcoholic who often physically abused his wife and children. Julien often ran away from home after his father had strapped him.

When Julien was eight, he was placed into state care after stealing money from a teacher at school. There was a short period before he was sent to live at an institution, during which he said he was drugged. ‘I don’t know why or what [it was]. When I went to [the institution] I was still on that medication.’

Julien was sent to live at a youth hospital in a suburb near his family home. He described the institution as a ‘jail’. He slept in a crowded dormitory, which was locked up every night. When the boys misbehaved, they were placed in a single bed ‘cell’ as punishment.

Julien was locked in the cell on several different occasions during the two years he spent at the institution. He recalls male staff members constantly ‘checking up’ on him, but only one lingered in the cell. This man, whose name Julien can’t recall, sexually abused him whenever he was in the cell.

‘He used to read magazines … He used to make me fondle him and perform oral sex. It used to make me sick.’

In the late 1960s when he was 10, Julien was sent back home to his family. He told his father what happened at the institution, but it was ‘brushed off’. He finished primary school and only attended high school briefly before he was returned to the youth hospital at age 12. He recalls feeling scared of going back because he didn’t want to see the man who abused him.

This time at the youth hospital, Julien was sexually abused by a young, female nurse. The nurse exposed herself to him on several different occasions. He and another boy were chosen on two different occasions to join the nurse in a cleaner’s room, where she forced the boys to participate in mutual fondling and masturbation. Julien didn’t tell anyone about the abuse as the nurse told him it was ‘our secret’.

When he was 13, Julien was transferred to a De La Salle boys’ home in regional Queensland. He lived there for three years and was approached by two different Brothers on several occasions during his time there. He was sexually abused by a Brother at night-time when he was on kitchen duties. He recalled being ‘touched inappropriately’ before the Brother tried to ‘lead’ him away. Julien copped beatings each time he refused.

The other Brother used to watch him shower and tried to touch him on several different occasions. Julien got aggressive when the Brother approached him and the attempts stopped when he turned 15.

Shortly after Julien turned 16, his parents divorced. He left the home and went to live with his mother. After his mother died, Julien moved into a halfway house and began working full-time. He didn’t tell anyone in his family about the abuse because he didn’t want to ‘upset anyone’. He felt they had ‘enough going on’.

Throughout his late teens and adulthood, Julien has struggled with maintaining intimate relationships. A previous partner’s death caused him to ‘drift’ into drugs and alcohol abuse when he was 19. He told the Commissioner he has a tendency to ‘withdraw’ himself from others and doesn’t let anyone close. He suffers from flashbacks, has been diagnosed with depression and can’t stay in a single job for long.

Julien first disclosed the details of his abuse to his wife when he was in his late 20s. He said he was abusive to his wife and child, which alarmed both himself and his family. He has now given up drugs and has reduced his alcohol consumption dramatically, which has helped with his temper.

In recent years, Julien participated in civil action against the De La Salle boys’ home. He was assisted by lawyers and said the civil process was a ‘horrendous experience’ for him. He told the Commissioner that he would have liked the matter to go to court, but he felt ‘emotionally unable to cope’ with court proceedings. The matter was settled at mediation and Julien received $90,000 in compensation.

As Julien can’t recall the names of the Brothers who abused him, he has not reported them to the police. He has been seeing a psychologist regularly since he first engaged in civil action, which he has found to be helpful.

Julien came to the Royal Commission to have his story heard and believed. He believes that more coverage of child sexual abuse, no matter how ‘minor’ the incident, should be broadcasted.

‘[Child abuse is] going to keep happening and I think it’s going to happen within institutions and people out in the public … Those people will always be there. What people have to do is take more notice of the warning signs, which never happened in the past.’

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