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Shane Rodney's story

Shane and his siblings were made state wards in the mid-1980s, when he was seven years old, and for the next four years moved between different foster arrangements in Queensland.

When Shane and his brother were staying with a family on the Sunshine Coast, an older foster child was masturbating in his room and called for Shane to come in. Shane entered the room but his brother intervened before the boy could do anything else, telling Shane to leave.

At a different placement another male foster child interfered with Shane sexually. Again, his brother interrupted this situation and removed Shane.

When living with a family a couple of hours away from Brisbane, Shane was sexually abused by a female caregiver, Emily. This followed an incident where Shane had touched his foster sister in a sexualised way.

Emily took Shane into a room, and ‘talked to me about what had just happened, about touching people inappropriately. And then the caregiver I believe has asked for me to show her what I had done’.

Although he was scared of the implications – ‘I felt as if my life was at risk if something had happened’ – he demonstrated what had happened with the girl. ‘She even said, okay, well then I’ll do something, and you tell me if that’s similar to what you’ve done’, then ‘fondled me, on my private parts’.

Emily then instructed ‘okay, now you do it back to me. And there was this permission statement being given to me to do it, but there was also this conflict of being told how this could be serious, and stuff like that’.

Shane was in around Year 6 when he learned his own father had been sexually abused when he was young, on an Aboriginal mission. ‘And of course, that had a big impact on me ... I think I became more distant from my family.’

From the age of 12 or so he started drinking, smoking marijuana and using hallucinogenic drugs. He left school in around Year 8, and it is only in prison that he has been able to continue his education.

When Shane was 15 he was sent to a juvenile detention facility. One of the staff asked Shane about his sexuality, which made him ‘a little bit shocked, a little bit scared, a little bit embarrassed’. He didn’t trust this man enough to discuss this kind of thing with him, so just replied that he had a girlfriend.

‘The thing that happened there was, where I felt most uncomfortable ... I feel like I was made to masturbate.’ Shane was having a shower and ‘had aroused myself a little bit’ when a staff member came in. Embarrassed, Shane turned around to hide himself, but the guard made him turn back and watched him as he washed himself.

Shane was over-sexualised from a young age, spending much of his time obsessed with obtaining sexual gratification. He became sexually active and promiscuous in his early teens, having a number of girlfriends and other sexual partners. ‘There was a pre-occupation there, and that all started from an early age.’

Throughout his life Shane has felt ‘a lot of shame and embarrassment, anger and hurt’ and has become ‘mistrusting, very mistrusting’, with ‘not very healthy attachment styles’. This has had significant impacts on his ability to establish healthy intimate relationships.

After he went to live back at home he felt confused about his sexuality for a while, and asked his mum if he could access some counselling. ‘It might have been the wrong time, but Mum got a bit upset, and yelled and said we didn’t have money ... So that put me on the back foot again. All I could do was try and repress things.’

Shane is currently in jail for sexually offending against a young man, and accepts the severity and impact of his actions. He has recently completed a 12-month sex offenders program, as well as engaging with a prison psychologist and psychiatrist. ‘It’s cost other people a lot. It’s cost my victim, my victim’s family ... It’s cost a lot of people.’

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