Ryan Mark's story

Ryan spoke to the Commissioner from jail, where he’s had ‘a lot of time to reflect’ on the many harsh experiences he’s endured in life, including the sexual abuse he suffered at 17. Ryan now believes that most of these experiences can be traced back to a key turning point in his life.

It was the early 1990s and 10-year-old Ryan was living in a town in regional New South Wales. One night while he was washing the dishes a relative broke the news: the man that Ryan thought was his father was in fact his stepfather.

‘I suppose, young kid, very, very mischievous and clever, I thought I’d use that to my benefit to get out of things as a kid. So: “Go mow the lawns”. “No, you’re not my dad”. You know, just little shit like that … Playing parents against one another.

‘Dramas just started and eventuated from that. Then disrespect and this that and the other. And it caused a lot of conflict in the family. And I suppose it was my way along. I was a very selfish kid and just problems eventuated and I ended up sort of out of home …

‘Started drugging and drinking and not being behaved. Like, no one wanted a ratbag kid. No one knew how to deal with me so then just everything else occurred throughout the years.’

By 17 Ryan was ‘out of home, angry … using drugs’ and living at a state-run youth centre. One night he ‘trusted the wrong people’ and found himself in a stranger’s house.

‘I was using more drugs. I had some pills on top of speed. I hadn’t slept for, I don’t know, weeks, months, days. I don’t really remember but it had been a while. And I found myself sort of on the couch, passed out. Well, I woke up but I had been passed out. And inappropriate things were happening. Inappropriate things that a bloke shouldn’t be doing to a bloke.’

Ryan bashed the guy and that was that. He never had anything to do with him again and he only spoke about the incident once, to a worker at the youth centre.

‘I said it in confidentiality and asked for nothing to be done about it. I was too scared, you know what I mean … I felt embarrassed and ashamed and like fucken sick.’

In the aftermath, Ryan increased his intake of drugs and alcohol.

‘Well, if I look at it now perhaps I was self-medicating myself. But perhaps I was just still being a ratbag person because I was full of anger from my childhood and I felt all alone and scared. I don’t know. Who knows? Maybe. Who knows? Subconsciously maybe that’s what I did.’

Ryan has never reported the incident to police and doesn’t plan to.

‘What good’s it going to do? Nothing. Doesn’t matter … There’s lots of things I’ve gone through in my life. It’s just another day.’

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