Mal came to the Royal Commission because he felt it was his duty to add his voice ‘to the mix’.
He grew up in the 1980s and was sexually abused as a young teenager by one of his teachers, Kevin Anderson.
‘It’s so long ago, honestly I don’t remember actual details, and I think that’s wonderful. I think it’s a sign that I was able to let go. I’m an only child and born to a single mother. My dad was very much not part of the picture and Mr Anderson took great advantage of that.
‘I don’t even recall a timeline, I don’t know where it began. But he really infiltrated himself into my life with the full blessing of the school and the full blessing of my mother. And I’m not pointing blame at either, it’s just that they had no idea, both. But he became my surrogate father and the abuse started early, I imagine from when he came, and happened right up until he left, until he was exposed.’
When Anderson was found to have abused other children, teachers approached Mal to ask if he was also a victim.
‘Once they found out … I didn’t have to live with the shame, or the unmasking or the hiding of the information. It was widely known because he had made himself so close to me, I suppose it was known or assumed, which probably brought shame but also brought matter-of-factness.’
Mal believes the support he received from the school was a significant factor in minimising the impacts of the abuse.
‘I don’t define myself as even a survivor. It doesn’t define me … I’m not minimising what happened.’
He says that although the school allowed the abuse to happen, there was never any malicious intent on their part, and that the world is judging the crimes of the 1980s by the standards of today.
‘The crimes that happened, happened under their watch and whether they were or were not alarmed – there probably were pretty loud alarm bells and nobody noticed it.'
Mal is happily married; his wife knows about the abuse, but his children don’t. He says he often feels anger towards his children, and will use the counselling on offer to help him control that. He was approached by the police but chose not to pursue any charges, partly because he wants to protect his children and also because he knows the case would not rely on his evidence alone.
He remains grateful for the way he was treated at the time and admires the school community, but also appreciated the opportunity to tell his story.
‘I’m incredibly grateful that the Australian Government, that the Royal Commission exists and that they’re pursuing this. I don’t think I’ll sleep better at night, only because I sleep so well already. I count my blessings daily, I really do.’