Patrik grew up in a violent home in Melbourne during the 1960s. He never knew his father, and his mother ‘was always sick’ in hospital, so he and his siblings were looked after by several uncles who were often drunk and would fight each other.
Patrik was sexually abused by one of his uncles around the age of five. Afterwards, his behaviour changed dramatically. He acted up at home, and couldn’t concentrate. When his mother returned from the hospital about a year later, she found him extremely difficult to handle.
‘Mum couldn’t control me. I couldn’t go to school, couldn’t study, couldn’t do nothing. I think I had a bad life when I was younger. It messed my head up.’
Patrik was too scared of his uncle to tell his mum about the abuse, and he was made a ward of the state. For the next five years, Patrik stayed with several foster families who were all ‘nice people’. He has fond memories a birthday he spent on a farm, and was able to keep in contact with his birth mother and siblings.
However, as he approached his teens, Patrik was placed in a Catholic boys’ home, and was cut off from his family completely. The home was a ‘brutal’ place in which one Brother in particular inflicted a lot of physical abuse.
Before long, Patrik began to notice some odd behaviour; the Brothers watched the boys in the shower, and held ‘circumcision meetings’.
‘I said to my mate, “Why is he talking about that when we’re boys here? Shouldn’t our mums and dads tell us about this sort of stuff?” Not a priest, not around the table of boys.’
Brother Eugene took a liking to Patrik. He ‘brushed’ his body against Patrik whenever he passed by, and always forced him to show and clean his penis while he was showering. Eugene said that Patrik shouldn’t ‘wear jocks’ to bed if he wanted to have children, and forced Patrik on several occasions to take his underwear off in front of him at night time.
Patrik couldn’t tell anyone about the abuse. He felt no one would believe him and had no one he could trust. He ‘didn’t know what to do’ because both his abusers had power over him.
After five years in the home, Patrik moved back to his mother’s home. He said this wasn’t ‘positive’ for him because his uncles continued to be violent and fight all the time. Patrik moved out when he was in his early 20s.
Patrik did not complete his education and has always had difficulty finding a decent job. He has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression, has a hard time trusting people, and has been charged numerous times with criminal offences.
His first full disclosure as an adult was to the Royal Commission. He has never told his mother, nor made a police report about either of his perpetrators – both of whom are dead.
However, he has sought legal advice and currently has a claim against the Christian Brothers order.