Lon was adopted at birth and sexually abused by his adoptive father from age four to age seven. His father ordered him not to say anything about it and gave him presents ‘to keep my mouth shut’.
When he was seven years old his parents told him he was adopted, and his behaviour went downhill.
‘I showed no respect because I thought “youse aren’t my blood mum and dad”. I know at seven years old you’re not supposed to know much but I grew up pretty fast. I had to. So I started putting big walls up because I got hurt so bad. You’re supposed to trust people who are looking after you and they’re doing things to you like abusing you and bashing you.’
There was frequent violence in the house and Lon often ran away, sometimes staying with his sister, who was older and had her own place.
One time, after he returned, he was being comforted by his mother.
‘She had her negligee undone and I could see her breasts and I started getting an erection and she started kissing me – and not like a mother and son. And it went from there.’
His mother continued a sexual relationship with him until he was 10. Lon also discovered his mum in bed with his dad’s brother on one occasion.
His own behaviour worsened. ‘I was always acting out, stealing things, having tantrums’, he said. ‘I tried to kill my father at the age of 10. I know I was young but I tried to kill him.’
At 10, Lon was made a ward of the state and sent to a government-run boys’ home in Victoria. A year later he was moved to a different home, where he was raped multiple times by other boys.
‘There were some bigger boys there who’d been there for a while. And because I wasn’t very big when I was young people used to take advantage of that.’
Lon was also sexually abused by a male social worker at a different boys’ home he went to later on. He never disclosed the abuse for fear of what would happen to him.
He read a lot of pornography and had strong violent thoughts about women he would see in the street. When he was 15, he sexually assaulted a woman who he’d seen shopping near his school. ‘That’s the way I thought of women because of what happened with my mum and my dad’s brother’, he said. ‘I was taught not to respect women. I was taught not to respect anybody.’
When he was 16, Lon was sent to an adult jail. He was raped by an older man who was supposed to be his mentor, and he has been raped frequently during his numerous periods in prison.
The effects of the child sexual abuse Lon suffered are ongoing. He has violent outbursts, injuring himself and others, and an ongoing drug habit. ‘I take drugs is to forget about my past’, he said. ‘The bad thing about it is that when you come down from drugs, the stuff’s still there. The stuff that happened to you when you were young.’
He also says he self-sabotages a lot and is very institutionalised, feeling more comfortable in jail than on the outside.
At the age of 45 Lon did a sex offenders’ course, where he was able to open up about what happened to him. He continues to struggle with his experiences.
‘It’s not going away’, he said. ‘Look where I am. I’m working and living alongside child molesters.’
Lon places much of the blame for the events in his life on the abusive actions of his adoptive father and others.
‘I believe very strongly that when he dies my life will start. Every day I wake up, look at myself in the mirror and think “you shouldn’t be here”. If I didn’t get abused, if I didn’t get abused in boys’ homes, I wouldn’t be here now.’