Randall was first sent to a Queensland Anglican boarding school in the mid-1960s, when he was nine years old. The housemaster, Mr Gillies, would sneak around the dormitory at night and molest the boys, including Randall, under their bedclothes.
One of the teachers sexually abused the boys too – coming up behind them and grabbing their genitals – and they all would try to stay clear of him. There was an incident in which this teacher asked Randall to assist him in the projector room of the school’s theatre. The man put his hands up Randall’s shorts and digitally penetrated him. ‘I ended up having cuts on my backside where this prick had done that.’
There was also ‘a guy who got off on pulling your pants down. He’d take you to a room and make you pull your pants down and cane you ... This wasn’t caning in the normal sense of the word’. This punishment caused severe welts and split the skin, and there was bruising on his stomach where the cane had wrapped around too. He showed these injuries to his father, who was ‘ropeable’, but he didn’t tell him about his pants being pulled down. ‘There was something weird about it ... There’s a caning, and then there’s that sort of stuff.’
Another teacher used to lure boys into his room and give them alcohol. ‘He didn’t get anywhere with me, but I know that he abused some of the other guys.’
As an introverted child, Randall was often bullied, and this together with his fears of further sexual abuse lead him to become extremely unhappy at the school. He begged his parents to be allowed home, but never disclosed what was happening to him – ‘they’d just think I was bullshitting to get out of the school’. They finally allowed him to change schools when he was in his early teens.
Since his experiences at school, he has never felt settled.
‘I can’t sleep now ... Just this week I went through four and a half days not sleeping. I’ve got all sorts of health issues at the moment ’cause of it ... Of course, I had years of drug abuse.’
Randall has told his wife about the sexual abuse after she perceived that something from his school years was troubling him. He has never sought compensation, or reported the men who abused him to police, but is now considering his legal options.