Monica's story

Monica is an Aboriginal woman from Queensland, born in the mid-1980s and surrounded by sexual abuse from a very young age. She told the Commissioner she was first abused when she was about five years old by a male relative who was the same age as her, and said this wasn’t unusual in her community.

‘There was a lot of abuse and there were like cousins and brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews, all those children interfering with each other, like having sex and stuff like that. That’s the type of lifestyle I was growing up in around here … so by the time Blaine, the situation with Blaine had come, it wasn’t something new to me for what he was doing … I was scared, but it just didn’t seem something new to me.’

Blaine was a much older man, a friend of her mother, who started abusing Monica when she was about 10, grooming her with gifts of money. The abuse continued for two years until her grandmother made a complaint to the police and Blaine left town.

When she was about 12, Monica went to a house party with family, where she met an older cousin, Tyler Warren, who was also a community police officer. She was tired and asked to go to bed and Warren said she could sleep in his room. When she woke up she was naked, and Warren was raping her.

She next came into contact with Warren when he arrested her for a break and enter. Afterwards he drove her in a police car from the watch house to his home, where he raped her again. He continued to abuse her on a number of other occasions.

A couple of months later, she was taken back to the station by two detectives.

‘They took me into the station, sat me down and pretty much done the statement for me and made me sign a consent form to say that I gave Tyler Warren consent to have sex with me at that age. I was 13.’

She believes Warren was then imprisoned for carnal knowledge.

When she was 14 she was sentenced to a three month term in a youth detention centre. She slept in a room by herself but would frequently wake up naked. She said she didn’t understand what was happening at the time but while she was there she was given medication for a sexually transmitted disease and she now believes she may have been drugged so staff members could unlock her room at night and abuse her.

‘My anger just grew towards authority because something happened in the juvenile facilities that made me, that I woke up one day and realised that it just wasn’t stopping, it kept happening, that I kept getting harassed by male corrective services staff and waking up in the juvenile detention centre with no clothes on. Just all crowded my mind and my anger just grew and grew.’

She had two further periods inside the youth detention centre.

‘One day I was placed in isolation and whilst I was there I felt so sad. My mind kept racing and I started slashing my legs.’

When she was 15 she became pregnant with her eldest son. What she doesn’t know is whether he was conceived while she was still in the detention centre or just after she was released and she still worries that the father might have been one of the prison officers. She was 16 when the baby was born.

‘My mum just took over from there because I couldn’t talk to no one. That’s when I first developed personality disorders, like some people say I had schizophrenia after that. I didn’t go to the police about it. I’m silly, I should have done more but I didn’t think.’

Monica started sniffing petrol and paint, and using drugs to numb the pain, and she has been in and out of jail for much of her adult life, as well as had periods of treatment at mental health units. She applied for compensation for the abuse she suffered but was unsuccessful and she’s had difficulties accessing appropriate counselling.

However she has more recently found support workers and therapists who understand the need to address her current problems in light of her past. She knows the anger she feels has contributed to a lot of her criminal behaviour and she regrets hurting so many people.

‘I need help with my offending. I know I have an anger problem … and I am trying to change my life around but it’s such a struggle with being on medication and doing that - a lot goes through my mind.'

‘I just want you to know that I have been thinking a lot about my victims of my crimes. That’s the main thing that impacts for me because I know what it’s like to be hurt and that’s something that I don’t want [for] them.’

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