Kelton's story

‘My life has been destroyed … My life is still very abstract. The flashbacks and all those different things. Their apology means nothing to me … ultimately they have no comprehension to the suffering that has been caused.’

Kelton was born in the late 1960s to parents who were ‘10 pound poms’. His parents had a difficult relationship which eventually broke down when Kelton was seven years old.

‘When I was younger my mother used to beat me mercilessly and I just remember hating her so much for it, and knowing that I would hate her forever for that … I don’t think anything worse could have happened to me.’

Kelton and his brother went to live with their mother in a town in regional Victoria. It was in this town that Kelton’s mother started a new relationship with a young scout leader. The leader groomed the entire family. Kelton now understands that he was vulnerable as a child because his father was absent and his mother was physically abusive.

‘This perpetrator was able to enter my life.’

The man didn’t abuse Kelton at any scouting activities but offered to help Kelton with his sport practice. In his written statement to the Royal Commission, Kelton stated that, ‘He moved our contact beyond Scouts’.

‘He told me it was my job to pester my mother to ask him for the [classes]. These [classes] always involved just the two of us at remote [places] … where there would be no other people.

‘As I think about the details of the abuse, my mind gets very disorganised.’

The abuse included anal rape and continued for at least a year and a half. Kelton still feels great shame that during the assaults he occasionally became aroused which lead to ‘great confusion sexually and mentally’.

‘I find it extremely upsetting that in recounting this and writing it down that I get sexually excited and get an erection at the same time [I am] deeply disturbed with how fucked up this all is and I get morbid and tearful.’

Since the time he was being abused, Kelton developed addictions to illegal substances and spent a year in a drug rehabilitation program. He experiences ongoing flashbacks that he finds very difficult to manage and has lived with extreme anxiety and depression for most of his life. More than 20 years ago, he began psychological counselling with a local practitioner who specialised in trauma-informed counselling. Kelton has maintained a weekly appointment.

‘It’s only ‘cause I’ve had [my counsellor] for a few decades to talk with otherwise I doubt that I’d be here … I’d be a basket case.’

It took him almost 18 years before he disclosed details of the abuse to his counsellor. He has only recently told his wife about it.

‘I didn’t want to tell her because I didn’t want her to think less of me … [But I knew] this will end up destroying our relationship if I don’t tell her, as much as it’s going to be horrible for her … I bit the bullet and did it.’

His wife has remained supportive and now realises why Kelton’s behaviour is frequently erratic. He has significant trust issues and difficulty forming sincere relationships with people. He managed to run a successful small business for some years but found it too demanding to maintain.

‘The inconsistency through the bipolar and the flashbacks … I would literally have to go home. I’d turn up and start crying and I’d just have to turn the car around and go home … It wasn’t possible to maintain it.’

Kelton now feels strong enough to pursue the man who abused him. He believes he’s probably still alive, and is planning to make a statement to police.

‘To come and speak to someone who I consider so important to the community [like the Royal Commission and police] … I knew it would be very taxing … [and that] I might be better off just to leave it alone … that’s why it’s taken so long for me to come forward.

‘I personally would like to know he’s either in court or in jail … he would be a very sophisticated abuser by now, if he was still out there. I really think it’s very important.’

At age 11, Kelton and his mother and brother had gone overseas for three months, and when they’d returned the abuse stopped. Kelton is now certain that another younger boy was being abused instead of him.

‘There was someone else, and he’s probably six months to a year younger than me and he always used to come up to me and want to say something and look very distressed … I always found that peculiar.’

He still finds it very upsetting to talk about the abuse because of the deep shame and trauma he carries. He hopes that things will be better for future generations.

‘The whole thing has brought up everything … It went through my mind [not to come]. It really did … [but] I believe it is the most important thing I can do in this whole process … to help this not happen to other young people.’

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