‘I’ve spent 30 years trying to unscramble scrambled eggs.’
Before Ollie was born, his father died and Ollie grew up living with his mother, stepfather and numerous step and biological siblings in a violent and dysfunctional home. Ollie feels he wasn’t given guidance on how to behave properly because his mother and stepfather were always working and there was too much free time for the children.
In the mid-1970s when he was 12, Ollie began getting into trouble and he came to the attention of police. He was stealing from one of the local recreational centres for ‘extra pocket money’. After being caught several times, he was made a ward of the state and removed from the family home.
He explained that some of his older brothers were also put into state care and he was upset that he wasn’t sent to the same place as them. Ollie and his younger brother went instead to a boys’ institution in a small town in Victoria. Upon their arrival, they were stripped naked and covered in lotion. While he was there, Ollie didn’t encounter any sexual or physical abuse, but recalled a younger boy telling him and his brother that they weren’t ‘going to like it here’.
After several months, Ollie and his brother were transferred to a Methodist boys’ home in a suburb of Melbourne. He remembers being okay with this move because he believed he would be reunited with one of his older brothers. His hopes were dashed when he arrived and was told that his older brother had been transferred to another home in a different state. He was also then separated from his younger brother and placed in a different dormitory at the home.
The boys’ home had a ‘sexual environment’. Ollie recalls being forced to watch boys masturbate in front of him during shower time. It happened so often that he would refuse to shower and he began wetting the bed. He tried hard to cover up his bed wetting, but after one of the older boys discovered it, other boys tormented him and ‘they made me shower with my sheets’.
He was physically and emotionally abused on several different occasions during his time at the home. He recalls being beaten by older boys if he didn’t comply with their games and he was screamed at and humiliated by staff. Being smaller than most of the residents, he believed they found it easy to abuse him.
When he was 14 years old, he got a job in retail and would go out to work each day. He came into contact with an older boy, Edmund Friar. Edmund worked at the same store and they would catch the bus and go to work together on weekends. Edmund sexually abused Ollie on two occasions. The first time was on the bus, when Edmund put his hand down Ollie’s pants and tried to fondle him. He attempted to do the same thing again, but Ollie pushed him away and moved seats on the bus.
Ollie froze each time and said he didn’t know what to do. He explained that he didn’t understand what was happening but knew it didn’t feel right.
After the second occasion, Ollie began walking to work and leaving early to avoid Edmund and he was successful until Edmund discovered his new route. One day, Edmund crept up behind him and forced him to the ground and performed oral sex on him.
Ollie never told anyone about the abuse. He explained that if he had reported it to a staff member of the home, he would have been bashed up. From then on he avoided Edmund ‘at all costs’. When he was 16, he left the boys’ home.
Throughout his late teens and adulthood, Ollie had difficulty with physical relationships. He has anger issues which, at times, he is unable to manage. He tends to isolate himself from others, including his wife and children. He told the Commissioner that he lives on his own, away from his family because of his angry behaviour. He doesn’t work and is on the disability pension.
Ollie first disclosed details of the abuse to a lawyer in the late 2000s. He received $12,500 in compensation from the Uniting Church, but it came down to $6,000 after he paid his lawyer. He was extremely dissatisfied with the civil process and the amount of compensation. He said he never reported his abuse to police because he didn’t think that it was his responsibility.