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Peta's story

Peta was one of 14 children in an Aboriginal family living in Queensland in the late 1990s. Their mother had left and their father was mostly unemployed, so times were tough. Peta went to many different primary schools as a small child and had an interrupted schooling.

When she was 13, Peta began a relationship with a boy named Nathan. Nathan introduced her to drugs and paint sniffing over the course of a few years. ‘He was a bad boy’, Peta told the Commissioner. She would frequently visit the farm of Nathan’s father, Merv Parker, who worked for the Queensland police force. ‘All the street kids, we used to stay out there.’ Parker would supply Peta and her friends with paint to sniff and other drugs.

When she was 16, Peta was raped by Parker and two other men.

‘He was just like looking at me, watching me sleep, and I think I was high, hallucinating. Then they grabbed me and they held me two days in a shed … They done stuff with me. They had me tied up, but I got away.’

Peta reported the rape to police in a nearby suburb. She remembers seeing the Aboriginal liaison officer. Her statement was taken and she was sent on her way. No action was taken against Parker. Peta was known to the police by that time as a substance abuser and she believes that is why she was ignored. She is also sure Parker was protected because he was in the police force.

Desperate for drugs and with nowhere else to go, Peta found her way back to Parker’s farm with other street kids. She had sex with Parker again, and became pregnant at the age of 17. She gave birth to the baby, at which point the Department of Community Services became involved. The child was removed from Peta’s care when it was two years old.

Peta’s life spiralled downward – she attempted to take her life, continued taking drugs and consumed a lot of alcohol. Peta described herself as a ‘slasher’ and said she has had multiple attempts to kill herself. ‘Just didn’t give a fuck about life, I suppose.’ Peta has spent time in jail.

Years after the original incident, detectives contacted Peta. She was told there was evidence Parker had abused three or four other girls in the time following Peta’s rape. They wanted her to give evidence in court against him. Peta cooperated with the police, but does not know the outcome of Parker’s day in court. ‘I never fronted. I was too scared.’ Peta has since heard Parker lost his job with the police.

Peta has recently had access to a sexual assault counsellor she can talk to. She is starting to deal with the trauma in her past, with support from her partner and her dad. She has put thoughts of suicide behind her and now counsels other members of her extended family who are doing it tough. She would like to see more avenues for desperate kids to reach out. ‘Suicide’s not a good thing. They need to be able to talk … It’s better to talk to somebody, before it builds up inside.’

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