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Roy Julian's story

Roy's father was 'tough as tough', a Painter and Docker. On one occasion Roy witnessed him mete out rough justice to a man in the street who had belted the little boy he was with over the head.

Later, as a teenager in a Salvation Army home in Melbourne, Roy would become a protector of the younger boys, defending them from older boys. But when he was a young boy himself he wasn't strong and fit and didn't have a protector or anyone to help him avoid sexual abuse.

Roy was placed in a Lutheran Children's home in the early 1960s at age 10. His sister was placed in the home briefly but then she went to live with Roy’s brothers at their aunt’s place. Roy doesn’t know why he wasn’t sent to live with the aunt too.

On weekends many of the children were allowed to leave the children’s home, so there was only one carer on duty. Roy thought she was in her 20s but she may have been younger.

One Saturday afternoon she had asked Roy to come to her room. She was there in a bikini.

'And you think what the bloody hell is going on here and you have no idea, no idea.'

She fondled Roy. He didn't go into more detail. 'That happened for quite a while, months.' As well, she would watch Roy in the bath. Roy shared a room with an older boy who she would take into her room for an hour or two at a time. 'She should have known better.'

Roy was very confused and didn't tell anyone. 'The reason you don't tell anyone is that you're basically afraid if you tell them, word would get out and things wouldn't be good for you.' This abuse continued for the year Roy was at the home.

After the Lutheran home, Roy lived in Salvation Army homes. During the year Roy was at the first Salvation Army home he was not molested himself but the talk of the boys was that one of the officers, Atkins, molested them. One day Atkins wasn't there anymore.

The other Salvation Army male officers were tough and the woman in charge of the mess hall punished boys violently for trivial behaviour such as failing to have their cutlery straight. It was a 'pretty frigging tough place'; there were 'lots of bullies'.

By this stage, Roy had grown strong and fit; he was a good sportsman excelling at football and basketball. He believes that these skills protected him from the older boys’ bullying and assault. Having no cause to defend himself, Roy decided to use his strength to defend other boys.

One night after he had been there about three weeks he saw an older boy jump into the bed of one of the younger boys. The younger boys 'couldn't defend themselves'. Roy was quite emotional as he recalled how the next day he happened to bump into the older boy. Roy confronted him and fought him. After that Roy became a defender protecting the 'poor little follows'. 'The Salvation Army didn't have measures in place to deal with the bullying.'

When Roy was in high school he was 'shipped off' to live with a family on a dairy farm but really as 'slave labour'. There he was physically abused and ran away. The police took him back to the Salvation Army home.

At 16 Roy finally returned to the family, to his aunt's home. He was always interested in art and happened to make friends who had cultural interests. However, he was almost caught up in the gangland criminal activities of some members of his family. He was fortunate to be offered a job on a dairy farm (a 'big break') and happily settled in the country for a couple of years. After that he studied at university, married and had a child.

When he was first married Roy saw a psychologist for a couple of years but has not had any counselling since. He never told his wife about the sexual abuse he suffered as a child. He kept a lot in and became a very 'private person'.

Roy has had a fulfilling life working successfully at a variety of jobs and has pursued a range interests and hobbies. When his daughter was still at primary school he separated from his wife and moved interstate for a few years but returned to be nearer his daughter; he is on good terms with his ex-wife.

Roy believes he was lucky because he met people who guided him, but he is still troubled by his childhood experiences in the homes. Recently he was affected by a TV news report about Atkins and by an interview with a man who had lived in one of the same Salvation Army homes as Roy – 'he really done it hard, looked hard, it really ruined his life'.

A few weeks before his private session Roy phoned the Lutheran Church to talk to them about his experiences in the home but he didn't get anywhere and gave up.

Roy is philosophical, recognising the good work of the Salvation Army. He 'doesn't dislike the Salvos'.

'At my age now when I look back I really feel compassion for the ones who couldn't defend themselves.'

'Who'd have thought after 55 years I'd be sitting here.'

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