‘I’ve always been an angry individual deep down. I am riddled with hate and anger.’
Porter, now in his 60s, was sexually abused by his elder brother who threatened to kill him if he told their parents.
And when he was sent to an Anglican boarding school in Queensland for several years starting in the 1960s, Porter discovered a ‘wolf pack mentality’. Bullying and physical assaults by both teachers and students were rife and left him ‘fearful and intimidated’ and led to poor school performance compared to his primary school experience.
In his first year as a boarder Porter was molested over a period of several months by Neville Brown. Brown left the school soon after Porter reported him. But Porter was then physically assaulted by boys who called him a ‘poofter’.
When his housemaster noticed his colourful bruises in the shower, Porter disclosed the bullying. This led to further victimisation and some school counselling in which it was suggested that his ‘toxic’ parents were to blame for the way he felt.
The second abuser, David Hawkins, groomed Porter several years later with beer and marijuana. Under its influence Porter was coerced into masturbation, oral sex. He was later raped, which caused rectal trauma and a fistula. Hawkins threatened him with the ramifications of cannabis use. Porter self-mutilated after the rape, disclosed to another boarder and achieved some notoriety, although he was not asked why he had self-harmed.
He later lied to his father about the cuts to his arms, linking it to being chased by thugs. ‘If I told [my parents] I didn’t know where that was going to go. I’d had enough.’
The threats from Hawkins that he could be charged or jailed ‘scared the living hell out of me – plus, he said no one would believe me’, Porter recalled.
When he left school Porter suffered from poor anger control, psychological problems and could sleep only with the aid of Nyal decongestant and marijuana.
He also experimented with hallucinogenic drugs for several years until he worked out his sexuality. Then he ‘was right into the ladies’ and earned a ‘playboy’ reputation with more than 150 partners.
‘I became an absolute pothead’, Porter told the Commissioner. ‘I was just an addict. I was alcoholic. I was a drug addict. I was a party animal.’
Porter has been jailed several times for cannabis offences. He considered the police as being like school prefects – ‘authority figures’ who ‘give me the creeps’. This was particularly the case after one officer placed a pistol in his mouth and threatened him.
His anger remained and during a short jail stint, a bikie ‘twice my size’ attempted to rape Porter. ‘I just about killed him. He stayed right away from me’ – as did all the inmates.
Recalling the abuse, Porter said: ‘It was that bad … I just wiped as much as I could out of my memory [after school]. It’s taken me a helluva lot to bring it back. It’s also brought back a lot of bad things like … mental pain. I can’t sleep … Three out of four dreams, I’m back at [school]. Here we go again.’
Porter never told his parents about any of the sexual abuse because they were ‘extremely homophobic’ and he ‘didn’t want to disappoint them’.
The fistula has caused decades of physical problems. ‘I never saw a doctor because I was ashamed and thought no one would believe me.’
Porter reported his abuse to police in the early 2000s after reading a newspaper article about a paedophile teacher at his old school. This triggered memories from his own era. He wrote a lengthy statement for police he described as ‘automatic writing. It was coming from the soul, not from the brain, not from the heart, not from sanity’.
Pressured to deliver it quickly, he included his brother’s threat to kill him if he exposed the familial sexual abuse. A psychiatric report prepared for his law suit against the Anglican Church blamed his ‘condition’ on his brother’s abuse stating that ‘by the time I got to [the school] I was spoiled fruit and therefore [it was] not to blame’.
Porter had thought for years that the abuse by Brown, who later suicided, ‘was just him and me but it turned out to be over 100 boys … at that school alone’.
The impacts on Porter have been lifelong. Now in his 60s Porter is incontinent, with ongoing bowel issues, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and recurrent nightmares about school where he becomes ‘completely, absolutely traumatised. I think I’m there’.
‘My wife has woken me up … and I’ve been in the state of mind where I’ve either been punching her in the head or I’ve got her by the throat and I’m strangling her. It’s real and that scares me … she … shoves me awake with a broom handle.’
His psychiatrist told Porter: ‘You are exhibiting all the same reality as, say, a prisoner of war … and [someone] tortured by the enemy.’
Compensation of $10,000, settled after a seven-year battle and of which he received $7,000 after costs, ‘didn’t even cover my expenses’ and was quite inadequate, even offensive, he thought.
Nor did he receive an apology from the Anglican Church, or funding for psychiatric help so he is limited to around 10 sessions a year through Medicare.
Porter has completed an anger management course, accepts he will never work again and now sees ‘triggers’ everywhere.
He has harboured fantasies of returning to his old school ‘and shooting the shit out of anything that moved’, though he states he would never act on them. Still, he would love to see it bulldozed or blown up with a ‘stack full of gun powder’.
‘Never, whatsoever, never, ever, I’ve never gone back’, he said, describing how he had once harboured a ‘compulsion’ to hunt down and kill both abusive teachers.
However, he was ‘just so pleased’ to find they had died years ago.
Feeling like a survivor of ‘a concentration camp’, Porter declared he would ‘never get over’ his childhood abuse.
He recommended a helpline for school children and microchipping for convicted paedophiles to prevent any possibility of them working with children.