Percy says his parents ‘weren’t nice people’. His father was in jail for the majority of Percy’s childhood and his stepfather was violent. Percy suffered broken ribs, fingers, a cheekbone and skull before he was removed from the home. He was made a ward of the state in Victoria when he was nine years old.
Constantly moving from home to home was tough. He didn’t ever spend more than three months in one place and he said his personality changed and he started looking for trouble. When he was 12, he started using drugs and would often engage in risk taking behaviour.
In the early 1990s, he was placed under the foster care of Roger, an older man who lived alone. He remembers getting into trouble with Roger for setting alight a tennis ball and drinking alcohol with his friends at his birthday party. After everyone went home he made Percy watch TV with him in the living room, and here he sexually abused him.
‘He put my legs on his and started rubbing my legs. He put his hands up my shorts and [touched me].’
Roger masturbated Percy and digitally penetrated him. After the abuse, Percy ran away. When picked up by police he reported Roger. He also told his caseworker what had happened and was immediately removed from Roger’s care.
As a teenager, Percy engaged in ‘attention seeking behaviour’ – stealing cars and continuing his drug use. He said he felt ‘clingy’ to people he knew but not ‘loving’. He found it hard to hold on to the people close to him and to this day does not have many friends.
‘I wasn’t really interested in hanging around with people, speaking to people or anything. It was males, females, family. It was everyone.’
At 16, Percy fathered a son, Eddie, who was diagnosed with a disability. When Percy was in his 20s, he was sent to jail but continued to see Eddie throughout his time inside and he still maintains a close relationship with him.
After he was released on parole, he got a job in the building industry and looked after Eddie as a single dad. Eddie was groomed by a paedophile on a social media network and was abducted at school but was saved from his potential perpetrator by the police. However, the events acted as a trigger for Percy and he deliberately ‘cancelled’ his own parole because he felt that he was a threat to society and wanted ‘to kill’ the abductor. He is now back in jail.
Percy has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and has experienced periods of depression. He tried to take his own life twice, has self-harmed in other ways, and has spent periods in mental health facilities. He reported that no one believed he was abused.
‘I never took anger out on people it was always on myself. Whether it was slashing up or stupid stuff like that.’
Percy had been ‘silent for 20 years’ but is now confident about seeking further counselling. He has no current plans to seek compensation. He’s looking forward to being released from jail so he can spend more time with his son.