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Malcolm Ian's story

Malcolm’s family moved to Queensland in the mid-1960s when he was a baby. After his alcoholic parents divorced, his mum started a new relationship. Malcolm got on very well with his stepfather but his mum wanted him to herself and didn’t want the kids around. So Malcolm and his siblings ended up in care when he was nine.

He remembers being driven by a welfare worker from the Department of Child Services up a big hill to the Anglican home. The manager, Father Ian, ‘gave him the low-down’ on how the home worked and ‘shit started happening from there really’. It was a cruel, brutal and uncaring home with very basic facilities.

One day, when his house parents were out, Malcolm was watching a movie on TV with the other boys. They were being minded by a man in his mid-30s. Malcolm can’t remember his name but does remember the name of the film. He also remembers the man calling Malcolm over and asking him to sit in his lap, which he did.

The man made Malcolm put his hand in his shirt and rub him. They both had shorts on and five minutes later the man ‘tried sticking his dick in me’. Malcolm wept as he remembered that ‘it hurt like fuckin’ hell’.

He managed to get up and run away and the next day found Father Ian and told him what had happened. He said that I was ‘nothing but a fuckin’ liar. That never fuckin’ happened’. As punishment for lying, Ian put Malcolm in a six feet by four feet trailer that had a pig cage on top of it. He was kept in there for about two days without relief – he had to sleep, eat and go to the toilet in there.

The humiliation and trauma of that punishment led to a change of heart. Malcolm decided that if he wasn’t going to be believed, he might as well lie anyway. ‘I just lost all hope … If a priest’s not going to believe me, no one’s going to fucking believe me.’

But despite Father Ian rejecting Malcolm’s story, the man was never seen at the home again and Malcolm found a gift on his bed a couple of days later. Another boy had also been given a present. Malcolm suspects he had also been abused.

He ran away from the Anglican home with another boy but they were soon found. Malcolm was moved to a high-security state-run home. His sister was also there but he had no idea until later because girls and boys were segregated. This was a rougher place – the boys fought each other brutally and guards did nothing to stop them. Malcolm was sexually abused here by other boys.

Malcolm was sent to another home in Queensland after this. He was bigger than the other boys and thought he was tougher than anyone else. He was sent on, yet again, to another place, more like a prison than anything else. ‘An upgrade every few years’, Malcolm called the moving around. In the high security places, it was other residents who sexually abused him.

Malcom ended up living on the streets for many years, traumatised. He finds it hard to sustain relationships and keeps to himself a lot. Did he self-medicate with drugs and alcohol? ‘Of course.’

He has children of his own but didn’t see them for years. Malcolm knows exactly why he couldn’t sustain connections with them.

‘Child gets to about one year and I freak out and I’ve got to leave. I’m thinking I might do to them what happened to me … It’s always there. You’re always terrified that you might slip … It fuckin’ terrifies you, because you know what happened to you. And you get this thing in your brain … What happens if I do that to one of my kids? So instead of taking the risk, it’s easier just to leave.’

Malcolm’s doing a lot better now. He has a lot of trust issues but ‘I’m getting over it slowly, I suppose’. He puts his resilience down to having a strong will to live.

He missed out on the Queensland Government Redress Scheme but is hoping to get some financial compensation for the sexual abuse he endured in the various homes.

In terms of the Department of Child Safety, Malcolm believes that things have improved for kids but ‘there’s nothing that a couple more million dollars won’t fix’.

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