Kirsty grew up on an Aboriginal mission in New South Wales. Her family was violent and when she was six or seven, she and her brothers and sisters were put into foster care with a non-Aboriginal family. She remained there for about two or three years in the early 1970s.
She remembers her foster father coming into her room at night-time while she lay on the top bunk, locking the door and digitally raping her. This happened about three to four times a week. There was no one that she could talk to.
Kirsty was moved to a children’s home in rural New South Wales. She was abused there by a staff member who inappropriately touched her and then digitally penetrated her. She left the home at about nine or 10 years of age when her grandmother went to court and won custody of the children.
Kirsty has overcome the abusive start to her life. She has competed at state representative level in sports and is currently finishing a higher degree at university.
She sees herself as a strong and resilient woman but she believes she is often judged in the wrong way for this reason.
‘Some people make the mistake of assuming that it doesn’t hurt you still, that the hurt’s gone, it’s just that you deal – I deal with the hurt in a different way to what some of those other women that I know that are still in that – they’re still trapped in that, you know, and that’s no fault of their own, that’s just where they’re at.’
Kirsty has repeatedly spoken publicly about being the victim of abuse (although she only told her second husband about some of the abuse). She said, ‘some people – you know, some blackfellas think it’s a bad thing’.