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Kane Travis's story

Kane grew up in Canberra. In the early 1980s, when he was about 10 or 11, he joined the local cubs, and graduated to the scout troop around a year later.

At school, Kane, ‘had a bit of trouble fitting in because I’m smaller than everybody else … Used to get teased all the time for being small and sort of didn’t fit in anywhere’. His one enjoyment was sport and he competed at an elite level when he was in his mid-teens.

When he became a cub, one of the leaders ‘sort of took me under his wing and then I thought it was great. Someone liked me and he was one of the big leaders and he did everything for me. He let me do what I wanted, so I thought it was great’. Kane’s parents thought it was good for him to have someone to help him fit in.

Malcolm Prentice ‘used to come around every afternoon after I finished school and pick me up and take me places … buy me stuff and take me down to a … nude beach … I just thought it was normal. I used to look forward to going down there’.

While no one ever threatened Kane, Malcolm ‘kept on saying, “It’s our secret. Don’t tell anybody”’.

As well as being sexually abused at the nude beach, Kane was abused by Malcolm at scout and cub camps. On the way back from one camp they stayed overnight at Malcolm’s sister’s place and it was there that, ‘finally … at 13, I finally sort of realised what was going on, and ended up flipping my lid at him …

‘Something inside me just flipped and I realised this was wrong and I didn’t want it and I started crying and ran out the front and just stayed out there yelling at him … I just said that I hated him and I didn’t want to talk to him.’ Kane went home and told his mother that he hated Malcolm, ‘and that was the last time I saw him’.

Kane didn’t return to scouts, and Malcolm continued to be a leader. Kane’s parents never asked him why he said he hated Malcolm and didn’t want to see him anymore.

Kane then concentrated on his sport, and tried to make friends with one or two older males on his team. ‘I never really had any friends around my own age … I thought that [Malcolm] was my friend. I didn’t worry about anybody else. It was just him. Because he’d buy me things. He’d take me … [places].’

Kane barely thought about the abuse for the next 30 or so years. ‘I just put it in the back of my mind like it didn’t happen … I might have thought about it maybe two or three times over the whole time, but I thought, “Well, nothing anyone can do. I’m not going to be able to prove it. There’s no use making myself look bad to Mum and Dad”. I didn’t think they’d believe me anyway, so I sort of tried to forget about it.’

About two years ago, Kane was shocked when he went to his parents’ place and Malcolm was there. They had run into him in the neighbourhood and invited him back to the house, not knowing that he’d sexually abused their son.

Kane maintained his composure at the time of the encounter, but afterwards ‘fell apart’. He started using drugs for the first time in many years, and while under the influence of drugs, committed a string of offences resulting in his incarceration. Before this, he had last been in trouble with the law in the late 1990s.

‘Everything just came back to me, and I ended up starting taking drugs to sort of try and forget about it, and got mixed up with the wrong people and eventually started committing crime … what I’m in here for, and that’s sort of the result of that.’

Because it’s his first time in jail, Kane ‘doesn’t understand properly how being a prisoner works, as in a code of conduct and things like that between prisoners, and it gets me into a bit of trouble’.

Kane has been assaulted four times since being incarcerated and has been placed in protective custody. He can’t wait to ‘get the hell out of here, and stay out’.

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